Grandpa, Dad & Me
My name is Claudia Karabaic Sargent, and I’ve been an artist all my life. One of my earliest memories is of sitting on the floor coloring with a box of Crayola crayons in my grandpa’s living room (I was no more than 3 or 4 years old). I remember looking up at him, crayons clutched in my hand, declaring that “pink and yellow were born on the same day”.
I created my first portfolio– for entry into the High School of Art & Design in NYC– when I was 12 years old. I graduated, went to Parsons School of Design, and started my freelance career a month before graduation.
Over the course of my freelance career, I did editorial illustration, educational illustration, book illustration, and more. The most rewarding projects I did were the wonderful illustrated gift books that Peg Streep and I collaborated on (she was the editor, I was the designer/illustrator). We published with Grove Weidenfeld, Viking Studio Books, Bulfinch Press (a Little Brown imprint), and C.R. Gibson.
In 1999, after years of serving on the artists’ hotline in the NYC Chapter of the Graphic Artists Guild, I created a series of workshops called The Warrior Queen’s Guide to Copyright, Contracts, and Negotiation. I traveled around the country teaching groups of artists the things they needed to know to protect their work and to always negotiate from a position of strength.
The cornerstone of my Warrior Queen workshops was simple: The artist must ALWAYS maintain an unshakeable belief in the value of his or her own work. This belief is not ego-driven; this belief is what makes it possible for an artist to take their personal musings, their creative wanderings, and post those in the public marketplace for all to see.
In 2000, I trained as mediator with Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts in NYC. Mediation is a form of alternative dispute resolution where the parties resolve their issues with the help of a facilitator (the mediator). Now, I participate in the trainings for new mediators at VLA.
In 2002, I left the freelance life for retail. After 9/11, I felt like I didn’t want to be in the studio anymore. Where I wanted and needed to be was out in the world, with people– and, retail was the best place I could think of for a middle-aged woman re-entering the full-time working world.
I LOVED IT. I loved being able to bring my creativity and best efforts into a collaborative team environment. Every day brought a different mix of the familiar and the new. Every day brought the opportunity to meet new people, and to learn what it takes to run a million-dollar business.
This past year, I decided to take what I had learned in retail and apply the lessons to my own work. That’s how I came to open my online shop at Zazzle.
At www.zazzle.com/CKSWarriorQueenArt*, you’ll find a broad range of merchandise featuring my artwork. I add new things every day; I re-merchandise the store regularly, adding new departments and fine-tuning the merchandise.
If there is something you’d like that you don’t see yet, let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org. I will be happy to do my best to surpass your expectations.
And that is how I arrived here, at WordPress, blogging. I plan to cover a fair bit of ground– my creative pursuits, to be sure, but also my observations and ruminations about the creative life and about what copyright means in this brave new digital always-on and always-connected world.
I’ll write about the big changes I am making in my personal life, committing to improving my physical and spiritual health, through judicious, incremental changes in my behavior and attitude. I’ve started to write a memoir that opens with the morning my elderly father went for a walk and didn’t come home. If you have an elderly parent who you love, who you are trying to help live out his or her days with dignity, and respect, and independence (despite their increasing physical and mental difficulties), you’ll identify with my story.
I’m looking forward to sharing my journey with you. Thank you for reading, and following, and contributing your own thoughts.