Friday Art Feature – Coriander Shea

It’s Friday and time for another Art Feature.
This week’s Featured Artist is

Coriander Shea

Artist Coriander Shea
What made you decide to become an artist?

There was never really any deciding to it, I just always was. My parent’s book collection will forever document my first crayon laden explorations into the world of art, lol. I seriously drew in whatever spare margin I could find. When I got a bit older and my mom most likely decided it would behoove her to give me paper, I friggin consumed it! I would steal her Newport News magazines and copy the fashions onto cat people. I was obsessed with drawing cat people when I was growing up- for years and years. My first faeries were in high school in a mandatory sketchbook we kept for an art class. I was reading alot of tattoo magazines at the time, and perhaps that’s how it got stuck in my head. Later, after my family moved to Florida I discovered Amy Brown’s and Jessica Galbreth’s work on the internet and it was like something lit up inside of me. I felt such a strong kinship with these creatures, with this world they inhabited that was of ours, but yet not at the same time. They utterly fascinated me. And the rest, as they say, is history lol!
I suppose one could raise a compelling argument against me- do I draw faeries because I am compelled to or because I love them? To me, the feelings are the same. I withdrew into that world during the worst times of my life growing up and unlike most fantasies, the Fae never left me. So, I will never stop drawing them. πŸ˜‰

Rhiannon’s Shadow by Coriander Shea

How did you come up with your website’s name, Phantom’s Rose?

Ah, a very interesting question! And possibly one that will showcase a bit of the obsessive part of my nature, lol. πŸ˜‰

Phantom’s Rose basically comes from my overwhelming love of the Phantom of the Opera mythos. I am like a veritable walking encyclopedia on the subject. I am absolutely as obsessed with Erik as he was about Christine lol- ironic I know, and perhaps a little wierd….but hey I’m eccentric. I’ve got license to do odd things!

I absolutely believe that this man actually existed and what’s more, there are rumors floating around that Gaston Leroux based this (and perhaps sensationalized) his classic novel after things that really happened. What I find odd is what seems to me the blatant coverup of all things that may lead to an investigation; whether it’s some staff refusing to talk about the legend, the fact that the Opera Garnier actually flooded a few of its underground basement levels effectively covering up the place where Erik’s home may have been, or the wierd way that the Opera Garnier which was specifically built for opera up and moved their opera elsewhere and only ballet performances exist there now. All very wierd things when taken into consideration.

The eccentric in me would love to somehow be able to poke around the cellars of the Opera Garnier (which are usually off limits to civilians) and even go so far as to hire a private investigator to see what I can find out for myself. I’d even like to get my hands on copies of Leroux’s private journals if I could….but such things may have to wait until I’m famous lol! I told you I was obsessed!

Take this aforementioned obsession and mix it with the ironic coincidence that my initials form C.D., the same as Christine Daae, my favorite flower has always been a red rose, I have always loved to sing, and when I was a little girl I was obsessed with going to France…..and that is how Phantom’s Rose came about. A lot of the gremlin looking dudes as well as the masked men in my Macabre Art section on my website (the Thoth series, Along Came A Spider.., The Guardian, etc..) are inspired by Erik.

Your Sidhe Queen Oracle is a huge project.  Could you explain a little about it for those who may not know what it is and why you decided to take on such a huge undertaking?

Ah lol! Let’s see if I can explain this well lol-

The Sidhe Queen Oracle is about the 12 Queens of the Sidhe and the 13th being the Avatar of Gaia. There is also a card included in the Major Arcana about the “Fallen” Queen. With this deck, my foremost intention was doing justice to these beings whom had made themselves known to me. I am very very psychic and even though at this time I don’t feel comfortable about openly talking about my abilities and experiences, that doesn’t for one second mean that I don’t live my life and likewise create my art utilizing my gifts! Keeping your mouth shut because you just don’t want to deal with the “Miss Cleo” references and denying your Universe-given gifts are two seperate things. I keep my mouth shut because I feel I have to in my chosen profession(s) to be taken seriously and not be turned into a gimmick. That is not my choice, that is simply adaptation to the situation(s) that have been presented to me- playing the cards you were dealt as it were. I accept myself even if the rest of humanity isn’t ready to accept me or those like me.

Oonagh’s Light by Coriander Shea

Back to the deck. My second intention was to create a system that was organized, structured, and efficient in getting the point across. I wanted this deck to be like a spiritual calling card to each facet of these amazing women-being’s personalities- I want the viewers to know them as deeply and completely as I know them. Giving off a generalized character-based shallow idea of these beings was not enough for me. I had always admired the many other decks that have been illustrated within the faery field, but I had always felt they were too vague in concept. How can something really guide you efficiently if you’ve only got half an idea of what it’s all about? It’s so much easier to trust and accept guidance from something or someone when you know them. That’s what I aim to do and that is also why this deck specifically focuses on these 13 beings.

I also knew almost immediately that a traditional and rather formless oracle deck setup was not going to work. Between input from these beings and myself, I devised a system that I like to call a bastard child of a Tarot deck and an Oracle deck- a “structured” Oracle deck lol. There is a Major Arcana and a Minor Arcana. Within the Major Arcana there are 26 cards; 12 Light cards, 12 Shadow cards, a Gaia card that trumps the Major Arcana and a Fallen Queen card that is under it. Within the Minor Arcana there are four houses, one for each element; Forest, River, Wind & Flame. The point is that like human beings, not all of the Sidhe Queens are masters of each element; some specialize in Water, some specialize in say Flame and Air but lack in the other departments. I did it this way to show that these beings are not perfect, they are imperfectly perfect…and that’s OK. One can learn lessons from EVERYTHING, even vulnerability and weakness. Each card in this deck showcases a different aspect of each Queen being depicted, like facets on a diamond- a diamond is defined by ALL of it’s facets, not just by one or two of them.

Haelane’s River by Coriander Shea

It is my hope that this deck will reveal itself to be a very concise, useful, and powerful tool in many individual’s spiritual self-development and that the lessons therein can easily be applied to that individual’s specific situation at the time of drawing the cards.

In addition, even though it may not look like it from this mammoth answer lol, I didn’t believe that I could do this all by myself at first and worried alot about how I was going to write it in a way that everyone using it could clearly understand me. So, the Faeries guided me to Elizabeth Saenz, an incredibly gifted Faery intuitive that has turned into an incredibly close friend whom I now proudly view as a Sister! We learn so much from each other on a daily basis, that it leaves me in absolutely no doubt that our connection in this life was “Faery inspired.”Elizabeth is a magnificent writer and we mesh so well…..I’m actually a little concerned that she will turn into the next Doreen Virtue and I may lose her to the throng of adoring fans I’m sure she will amass soon lol! This woman is seriously brilliant and very very talented. πŸ™‚

Your Whimsies are such a contrast to your other art.  How did they come about?

A few reasons actually. Like I said I’m a bit obsessive, and I always need more than one reason whenever I go in a specific direction; this can be good sometimes and bad other times, but that is another conversation altogether lol! πŸ˜‰

Do You Like My Hat by Coriander Shea

I’m a big believer in Balance in all things; whether it’s understanding the Dark as well as the Light or whether it’s simply a balance between work and play. I feel that Balance is a very very healthy thing wherever it is applied!

I realized one day that I was pigeonholing myself. While I take great care in trying not to alienate viewers and potential fans by “letting my spirituality just all hang out there”, I realized that my artwork may have potentially been doing that on it’s own. It’s intense and when I create them, I’m usually feeling or thinking very intense things! My art is my therapy and helps to give me a healthy outlet to vent, but as they say, I didn’t realize my own strength lol! When viewers are confronted by even the most innocuous of my serious pieces, they are forced to confront things within themselves. In this way my art interestingly acts as a spiritual energetic catalyst for growth….sounds cool, but growth can be painful. I didn’t want that constant feeling associated with the overall “idea” of my artwork. I want to fascinate people, not make them shudder and run away lol!

That being said, I wasn’t willing to compromise myself or my expression for ANYTHING. At about that time I had been paying attention to a lot of Kawaii art on Deviantart and Etsy. My love of Kawaii just insidiously creeped into my psyche and subterfuged me with it’s cuteness! Gah, lol! Once I realized that I basically fell in love with Kawaii art overnight, which in and of itself has really no artistic statement other than to celebrate the cute and ridiculously fluffy happy parts of life- I saw an opportunity to Balance myself out artistically. So I decided to do my take on Kawaii.

Dragonriders by Coriander Shea

…It basically exploded from there. I found that I adored being cute and happy and frivolous and carefree with my art as much as I adored being intense and slightly creepy. I also realized that people respond more to things that make them happy (and who can blame them with the crap we’ve all got to put up with everyday?). From a business aspect, it was a no brainer. Cute things make money, plain and simple. By opening my artistic offerings up to include Kawaii, I was also broadening my scope within the licensing industry and possibly getting an edge over my competitors whom usually excel in one specific artistic area. Hey man, I’m a polymath in a world of pissy monomaths- why not embrace it?? ;D

The fact that it also balanced me out was just a side perk. I now regularly switch between serious pieces and Whimsy pieces because the Whimsies don’t take even a 1/4 of the emotional commitment as the former do. It exhausted me to be frequently pumping out these emotionally intense pieces and I was almost constantly near burn-out. With the system I have in place now, my energy recuperates and gets a chance to play when I create Whimsies so that it can be ready for the more serious works. πŸ™‚

I understand that your art is going to be showcased in Times Square!  Share your feeling with us about that.  What piece(s) will be shown?

Um, well I’m shocked….yeah pretty much just shocked. I didn’t really think I was going to make it and I didn’t have the $25 to shell out for guaranteed inclusion, and more power to those who chose that path but I am stubborn. Even if I did have the money for guaranteed inclusion, I probably wouldn’t have done it anyway. I want my art to speak on it’s own and if I’m supporting it with money then it’s not really speaking to people is it?

I believe these are the pieces being shown, but if I’m able to I would like to switch them out for other newer pieces…and maybe more Sidhe Queen Oracle work (I was kinda being lazy when I created the entry lol!);
http://corianderdetwiler.artistswanted.org/atts2012

I’m not really sure how the process is going to work and I’m still secretly hoping that I win the big prize lol! But from what I do understand, my artwork will be shown in Times Square on one of the mega-huge billboards with probably thousands of other artists. Even then and even if my art babies get a few seconds here and there in rotation, I’ll still be happy. The idea of a huge projection of “Legend” or even…”Azazel” (teehee that would get some people going eh?) makes me all giddy inside.

I guess we’ll see! ;D

Legend by Coriander Shea

What other things do you enjoy doing besides painting?

I’m a polymath. I sing, I act, I write, I am a professional at mischeviously teasing my Beloved and my kittehs…..is that a talent?

I realized I can no longer put on certain music while I’m doing computer work or artwork, I will get so into the music and get lost in it and start singing….it’s such a spiritual experience. I would probably have much more complaints from our neighbors if I didn’t sound good, but I think they like being serenaded. πŸ˜‰

As far as acting, well I’ve always wanted to be famous and be a celebrity. Like A++++ household name celebrity. I know I’ve got what it takes to do it, I just need the right exposure and the right behind-the-scenes people supporting me. So in regards to that, I’m preparing materials to delve into acting (don’t worry! I can and will still do artwork!).

As far as writing, I’ve been in the middle of writing a novel since I was in high school. Writing is so much more intimidating than creating artwork, or even singing or acting. You wouldn’t think so, but it is so intimate and it takes so much energy out of me to just write a little. So, I say I’ve been writing it since high school but what I really mean is I’ve been running away from it since high school with times that I work up the courage to face it and be present lol! I also intend on writing a massive fantasy fiction series around the Sidhe Queens. I’m hoping to do like Stephen King did with his Dark Tower series where he interconnected every one of his books in this world. A mix between that and the Vampire Masquerade world is what I’m going for….the style will be my own however. πŸ˜‰

I shared my what I had so far of my first story with my Beloved, who is an avid go-through-a-book-in-a-few-days reader. He has also read pretty much every fantasy series there is many many times over. He loves loves loves stories. So what I’m trying to impart was that I had a pretty rough judge to convince with my seemingly amateur (or so I thought anyway) writing. Not the case apparently. He DEVOURED what I’d wrote and almost outright pounced on me and demanded me to write more with this wild desperate look in his eyes …..I think I even saw a little froth around his mouth too, lol. So that is a good sign I think lol?  I’m still running away from them and using the dull administrative duties of my art biz as an excuse, but I think I will try to devote myself to it and force myself to be present and write once The Sidhe Queen Oracle is finished.

Dreamer of The Eternal Fire by Coriander Shea

Is there anything else you’d like to share with us about yourself?  Something we wouldn’t have guessed in a million years?

Wow, there are so many things about me that range from the outright bizarre to completely hilarious. But if you don’t mind I think I will share two;

1. I give off this wierd kinky, versed in the ways of the world vibe. I really don’t know how others get this idea about me other than the fact that I can be gleefully pervy at times….but instead of a “Oh yeah I did that” pervy, I’m more of a “Haha…peeeenis…haha” mischevious pervy- one of my friends said recently that I’m like a 14 year old boy. Well aside from “some things” that 14 year olds do almost obsessively (that tends to ruin their socks!!), I would say that’s pretty on point. I am such an innocent! I’m really like some wierd version of a savant, I can do crazy tricks with my mind and process information like my brain is some sort of biological computer thingy, but at the end of the day I’m just a little Faery girl that loves praise and attention and to be petted and told she’s special. I’m so lucky that my Beloved understands that and doesn’t try to hammer me into being an “adult” and in the process, losing my sense of wonder and magick. And like a little girl, there are just some things about the world that I don’t and probably never will understand emotionally but at the same time my brain understands them on a reasoning level. I am incredibly incredibly sensitive and find it very hard to “put on a mask” and operate within a general social context. I’m a wierd blend of wanting to withdraw away from the world and feeling compelled to share with the world what’s inside me in a big way. People have tried and tried and tried to tell me that wanting to become a celebrity is probably not a good idea for my personality, but I just can’t help it. The Heart wants what it wants. πŸ™‚

2. I’ve got a BIG girl crush on Angelina Jolie. I have ever since Tomb Raider days. I absolutely adore that woman and have watched almost everything she’s been in (some of her roles are painful and make me cry like a baby!). I’ll admit it, I was a tad jealous when hunky Brad-a-licious came into the picture…..but they are so good for each other and their children are so beautiful. I’m almost scared to actually meet her because I think I’ll probably turn into an awkward, bumbling fool and yell at myself afterwards (because you ALWAYS know what to say afterwards lol!).

I even had a dream about her once where she was signing autographs at a table in this swanky old building where all my belongings were stored in a room adjacent to the attic where she was taking her breaks. I hung out in this building alot and I was too shy to say anything to her so I just watched her talk to other people and wondered if I’d have the guts to actually approach her. I finally worked up the courage to talk to her and she turned out to be very annoyed & crass with me because she had seen me all day and thought I was some sort of stalker! I think I managed to apologize elegantly and then I started balling my eyes out as I ran away!

I think the stigma from this dream carried over into my waking life and has made me even more scared of meeting her in person lol!

Want to see more of Coriander’s art and follow her on her journey in the other aspects of her career and life?

Website – http://www.coriander-shea.com
Twitter – @coriander_shea
Facebook – http://www.facebook.com/CorianderShea
Instagram – @coriander_shea
Formspring – http://www.formspring.me/coriandershea?1305328913482
Zazzle Store – http://www.zazzle.com/phantoms_rose
Etsy Store – http://www.etsy.com/shop/phantomsrose

Thank you Coriander for taking the time to do this interview.  I’ve enjoyed seeing your art and getting to know you.

Drop by every Friday to meet more fabulous artists.  Next week, I’ll be featuring artist Ann Gates Fiser.

Posted in artist feature, Friday Art Feature and tagged , , , , , .

3 Comments

  1. Love love and love this interview.

    It is great to know more about you !

    You seem deep and mysterious and you are even more mysterious after reading this interview.

    Love your art ! it is you – deep and mysterious.

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