http://www.etsy.com/shop/GalleriaDiGiani interviewed by fauxsure
What sorts of things do you offer in your shop?
I do beaded jewelry. Currently, there is one piece that also incorporates fused fine silver. That is a skill I only recently acquired, so I am looking forward to offering more things like that in the future.
How did you first start selling on etsy? How long have you been selling? Do you sell anywhere else?
I have only been on etsy for about three months. I also sell through 1000 Markets, and have been selling there since July. But I have been making jewelry since the mid 90's, and started off by selling through consignment shops throughout Seattle. Now, I am focusing on online sales only. I will do the occasional craft fair as well, but I haven't been doing consignment shops lately.
Tell us a little about your typical creative process and how you go about making your work. What kinds of steps do you usually go through?
Although I make jewelry, I consider myself first and foremost a photographer (will get into that in more detail in later questions on the list). So, with a background in photography, I am a visual (sometimes visceral) artist. I don't often create out of thin air. Often, I will see something, a pendant frame, a stone cut a certain way, a brooch, something, and it will give me ideas as to something to make. Once upon a time, a bead wholesaler that I ordered from included, as a free gift, a wooden pendant in which the cap had a wand attached. It was a perfume/aromatherapy pendant, and I had never seen one before. When it came time to design a new product line for my shop, I remembered that pendant and went looking for more. I found many people on ebay selling sterling ones, which were even more fashionable, and so was born a product line!
What are your favorite materials to work with?
While I use as big a variety of beads as I can, I always come back to the earthier stones...things like tiger eye, onyx, unakite, hematite, jasper, lapis (when I can afford to)...I just find the earthier looking stones to be so wonderfully grounding and help bring an extra bit of peace to my pieces.
Are there other creative projects you are involved in outside of your work in your etsy shop?
Yes, as I stated earlier, I am a photographer. I am working on opening two photo shops on etsy this year. One will be for my nature/landscape/architecture style photos, and the other will be for my erotic prints. My b/w erotic prints (www.johntozzi.com) are really the cornerstone of my art life.
The funny thing is, I didnt even really become a photographer until my late 20's. I had done a lot of writing before that. But, in the early 90's, I had a hand injury, and, as part of the rehab process, I wasnt allowed to type (outside of an hour or two on my day job) for many months. So, without that creative outlet at my disposal, I was starting to get a little stir crazy. One day, just for fun, a friend asked if I would take some nude pix of him. He wanted some, but wasn't comfortable asking someone he didnt know to take them. Personally, I think he just asked me to get my mind off my problems for an afternoon. Anyway, the pix turned out great, I had a blast, and found that I really enjoyed doing it. And, as the saying goes, the rest is history. It was really a surreal experience having my life's passion come out of such an ordeal, but, hey, however it got here, I am just glad it got here!
Besides art/ crafty stuff, what else do you like doing in your free time?
I watch a lot of movies (my dvd collection at home is scary....one of my best friends nicknamed my collection "Blockbuster", if that gives you any idea). I also listen to a ton of music, and read when I can.
Does your queer identity come into play in your work?
It doesn't really come into play in my jewelry, but, obviously, for my erotic photography, it definitely comes into play. Although I call my work erotic, I would really rather call it "sensual", because it is more about moods than brazen sexuality. Still, when it comes to finding the sensuality in a person, I am not sure if a straight man would be able to find it and bring it out in other men the same way a queer artist would. We just have so much more experience with that part of men.
What are your hopes for the Queer Etsy Street Team? What brought you to join?
I was actually turned on to the team by one of the members (Moinks), who I encountered in an etsy chat room one night. I thought it would be a great opportunity for me to meet, hang out, and talk with other queer artists just to see what other types of work were being produced within the community.
Please feel free to contact John through an etsy convo if you have any questions about his work or anything else...