A blog about vintage fashion, vintage jewels and art.....

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Handpainted bag lady

Blogging has brought me in touch with oh, so many different talents. One of the latest talented ladies I've come across an artist and creates, amongst others, the most fabulous hand-painted bags. Here is an interview with the lady herself - Diane Costanza, who sells her artwork under Diane Costanza Studio.

What is your main profession?
My day job is that of a Senior Production Manager for a trade magazine in the hotel/hospitality industry. I began as a graphic artist and eventually was promoted to management. Needless to say, I am an avid reader of Etsy's "Quite Your Day Job" series, LOL.

How long have you been doing this kind of art creation?
I have been an artist all of my life, from the first time I held a crayon to earning a degree in fine art in college, but I am still learning, teaching myself new techniques and to appreciate all styles of art.

How did it all start?
As I said, I have always been an artist, but I didn't begin selling my work until 2003, when I put up a website under the name Storybook Miniatures. At that time I was into dollhouse miniatures, fascinated with translating real life into 1/12 scale and eventually began to sell my miniatures on Ebay. While checking out what other Ebay sellers had to offer I came across the art category and its vast range of mediums and styles and I eventually began painting again. That, of course, inevitably lead me to Etsy, which I just love.

What inspires you?
I consider myself a figurative artist. I am most inspired by the human figure, specifically the face. I have spent the last two to three years studying the masters of portraiture to learn how to interpret the lines and planes of the human face.

I am inspired by:

The old masters of art just because of their greatness: Da Vinci, Raphael, Caravaggio.

The Impressionists for their contribution to art that allowed freedom of form and expression not heard of previously: Van Gogh, Monet, Renoir.

The Pre-Raphaelites with their romanticized versions of the female form: Waterhouse, Rosetti, Everett Millais, Holman Hunt.

The Art Nouveau movement inspires me with its influences taken directly from nature, so flowery and yet so modern: Mucha in particular, as well as Beardsley & Klimt

What materials do you use?
I have experimented in many different mediums that encompass clay to metal, but I am mainly a painter.

I have always painted in Watercolor on paper, but have recently branched out into wearable art: handbags, jewelry and shoes. I am considering learning to paint on clothing as well.

Did you train to do this kind of craft/art or is it something you taught yourself?
My parents were great supporters of my talent and allowed me to take private art lessons throughout the years, culminating in a BFA in Advertising and Photgraphy. But I am still learning, teaching myself new techniques and to appreciate all styles of art. My newest genre of wearable art has come through trial and error and alot of online research as to what will work or not as far as tools and materials.

How does vintage fashion inspire you and what kind of art inspires you?
I have always loveed the antique flavor of the Victorian and Edwardian eras. (We recently had our suburban house remodeled into a lovely victorian.) When I opened my handmade art shop on Etsy, I found myself drawn to the vintage shops more than any others and that is what inspired me to begin creating wearable art using vintage items as my canvas. I love the whole idea of re-use, repurpose, recycle. I now haunt the Goodwill and yard sales several times a week looking for objects to paint on, but also to decorate my home in the boho style I most feel comfortable in.

I find it very hard to bring myself to pay retail now when with a little hunting I can find the perfect vintage or retro piece!

What has been your biggest and most important project to date?
My son attends a private Catholic School and every year I donate either a painting or a portrait to the school's largest fundraiser, their Fall Fashion Show. I also create the show's advertising journal, which takes quite some time from start to finish. I believe that we need to give back wherever possible. The school has helped me raise a wonderful, giving child, so the least I can do is help them raise some additional money for the children and the school.

What are you working on at the moment?
Shoes, shoes shoes! I have some fabulous vintage and newer, gently-worn platform shoes that I am currently breathing new life into! I love the idea of someone walking around with art on their feet.

Yes, there are some really great shoes out there right now from famous designers that even I would kill to own, but no one has a pair of hand painted Diane Costanzas.......... yet.

http://www.dianecostanza.blogspot.com/  (art blog)

http://www.ignaziosmom.blogspot.com/  (everything else blog)

http://www.dianecostanza.etsy.com/ (handmade Etsy shop)

http://www.costanzavintagecraft.etys.com/  (vintage Etsy shop)

http://www.dianecostanza.com/  (online portfolio)


The Creative Bohemian said...


Thanks for featuring me! Your are very kind to support other artists.


Diane said...

What a great interview! I love reading about the backgrounds of talented artists. Diane's art is truly unique and I'm very attracted to her style of art.
Great Job!

Diva said...

Great interview and what beautiful bags ! Will definitly check out this talented lady !

Thanks for your comment on my blog. I´m a bit behind w. my posts ... :)

Unknown said...

Wonderful interview! I just love Diane's artwork. She is very talented. Thanks for the peek into what makes her tick and what inspires her.

Unknown said...

Thanks for your introduction to these artworks and the great artist: Dian. I like that bag with a woman making up her lip. I am fond of this style.