I recently examined the motivation I have to keep doing profiles on other artists and the answer came back "because it is so inspiring". From the first time I saw what was available at Raghouse International I was hooked (no pun intended). Everything she makes is fashion forward and appealing to a wide range of tastes. It has been my pleasure to get to know such a vibrant artist who truly believes in what she's doing and enjoys every minute of her life.
I hope you enjoy this interview as much as I did. Make sure to visit her at her places when you're done reading.
Tell us a little bit about yourself
I was born Cornela Marie Austin and I am from Los Angeles. I’ve lived in Los Angeles all my life but I've had fun opportunities to travel to different places, giving me the desire to live in other places! Everything I do now, I’ve always done as a child. It seems with each passing year I discovered an artistic skill. I started out singing when I was four years old. Hand sewing was next. I used to pull curtains off the windows and make skirts. I started writing poetry and songs at the age of twelve, drawing in the 8th grade and so on… I now work professionally as a singer and photographer. I didn’t know what a fiber artist was until I joined esty! So I am mow a fiber artist!
What inspires you to do your craft/artistry?
I don’t know if I was ever inspired to do my craft. I realized, for me, it was something I was born to do then I found that I inspired others through what I did. I never really thought about it. I just know that when I was in the third grade and I sang in front of my class for show and tell I was asked to sing again and again! I didn’t even know I could sing until that moment. So many things have happened to me in that way. Not really knowing that I could do anything, but when I did, it happened to be good, it happened to be spectacular! I started to see that creativity was just a part of my DNA. I hardly know any designers in my field, I don't watch much TV, or listen to many music artists. A lot of my inspiration comes from within and the love and challenge of creating. Most of the designs in my shop I’ve stumbled upon…It’s pretty weird!
How do you promote your items?
Myspace is one of my favorite places to promote because everything is so visual and now they have tools where you can update your profile and your friends can see what’s new right away. Whenever you upload new photos, friends can see and know about it immediately. Myspace helps to keep friends in the know. I also love word of mouth and promo items. I have particular places that I go to promote like open mics, poetry lounges, festivals, marketplaces, California Market Center in downtown Los Angeles, where the center of fashion happens. And I am always a walking advertisement! I used to make everything and just sell it off, but then I started taking the time to make things for myself to wear. My promo items are simply my card with a finger ring, bracelet, or earrings inside. Everyone loves something for free and they are so happy to receive it!
What is one piece of advice you'd give to new artists?
The most important thing is to first believe in yourself and in what you do. Have faith in what you do and then go after it passionately. The worst thing you can do is make something and feel that no one will like it. I know what that feels like, I’ve been there. What I’ve discovered is that people everywhere like the most unique things and they are bound to like what you make. It’s all a matter of finding the right market for your product, which leads me to my second point. If it is your goal to have a successful business, study all you can about branding and marketing. Psychology goes hand in hand with marketing, study that. Know how your target market lives, breathes, move, where they shop, how they shop, online or offline? Once you know these things, promote, promote, promote! It takes hard work and discipline.
How do you see yourself evolving in the next 5-10 years?
I see myself evolving socially for one, because I am in my creative world so much that I don’t really go out much. I love being a home body, but now I feel more ready to socialize. My artistic and entertainment work is so fun that it's socializing for me while getting paid at the same time! I also see my fiber arts line growing more couture with an emphasis on unique menswear, eventually making its way to Paris and making a big splash in European Countries.
What are some of your favorite things?
My favorite color is green and I love all things Japanese, the food, Juku. I love to read, sing, and dance. I love fitness, working out, cooking, taking photos, and being in front of the camera. I love making people beautiful, and life coaching! Love to listen to quality music and of all things, traveling. A trip across the US is the best thing ever! Just love smiling and having fun, living my best life no matter the economy or when things are up or down.
What is your favorite quote?
Wow, this is a great question! I drown myself in reading inspiring things and great books that help shape my life. There are a lot of great quotes out there, but there are specific ones that I live by and help to keep me grounded.
“If you live a life guided by wisdom, you won’t limp or stumble as you run. Carry out my instructions, don’t forsake them. Guard them, for they will lead you to a fulfilled life.” Solomon Proverbs 4:12
“Get noticed by being beautiful.” My Grandmother
I live by these because life is full of decisions. Wisdom is the best thing to have and know that if God blessed you with beauty work that beauty until the day you die!