Here is the 411 on Aileen Roberts in her own words, “Aileen Roberts is a mixed media artist & repossession specialist; recycling, altering & creating with found objects and various mediums. She finds joy in taking the ordinary and turning it into something unique and extraordinary. Her art runs the spectrum from drawing, painting, and assemblage art to jewelry and paper arts. Aileen has been published in several well known magazines and enjoys teaching workshops occasionally.” Owner of one of my favorite mixed media online sites, Outside the Margins, Aileen’s whimsical and wonderful sense of color and fun definitely qualifies her as someone who colors outside of the lines and draws outside of the margins. Aileen’s work is inspired and inspiring and her joie de vivre is most definitely infectious. We’re tickled five shades of pink to have Aileen on Craft. You.!
*You mention in your bio that your mother was an artist and art teacher and your siblings were artists also, but you didn’t find your creative spirit until you were a young adult. That’s interesting to me, as I grew up in a family of artists and although I was always creative, I didn’t really give myself permission to be an artist until I started this career in my mid-thirties. Was there an epiphany for you? How did inspiring creativity become your career?
I think, because I grew up in such a creative environment, that it actually intimidated me instead of nurturing my creative side. I allowed my inner critic to take hold, and I semi closed off my creative door thinking I was not good enough. It was not until after my mother passed away that I really allow myself to be more artistic. As a result, I gained more confidence in my own creative abilities, and I quit listening to my inner critic. I eventually gave myself permission to call myself an artist. Because I knew first-hand, what it was like, to have my own creative door both closed, and opened, it has become a mission of mine to nurture others, and help them open up their own artistic door through sharing, teaching and art play. The thrill of watching someone realize they ARE creative and unleash their artistic spirit for the first time is an experience I never tire of. It is such a thrill to watch their confidence grow and take hold
*Your work and your world are infused with a vibrant sense of color and fun. I like to call that funkitude. What draws you to bright colors, what excites you creatively and how has your aesthetic developed over time?
I love the word “funkitude” you coined, thank you! Bright colors make me happy, it’s as simple as that! As I gained more confidence as an artist my choice of colors have become brighter. I have the following quote by Emile Zola written on my kitchen wall “If you ask me what I came here to do in this world: I am here to live out loud.” That is how I feel with my bright colors. I am here to live out loud! I knew even as a child that I was very lucky to be raised in such a creative environment, and although my own creativity was delayed, it definitely has had an impact on me even now as a person, and an artist. The biggest change is that I am no longer afraid to do what I want where color and design are concerned. 10 years ago, I would have been afraid to paint my front door with a giant sun on it (like I did a couple of years ago). I would have worried about what others would think…now the brighter the better!
*Your house is just amazing! What inspired the colors and the décor? Do you feel living in a creative environment helps spark your creativity?
Yes, absolutely! The bright colors and creative environment definitely spark my creativity. It also helps that I have a very understanding and creative husband as well, we are both “repossession specialists”, as I like to call us. We live in a house that is over 100 years old. When we moved in, the kitchen was bright white (too white for my taste). Little by little I began painting each wall in the kitchen a different color, and then I wrote some of my favorite quotes on the walls. I wanted to give my kids the message that color is okay and not to be afraid to be bold and different. As for the outside of our house, it took awhile to convince my husband to go with the bright yellow and purple house paint that we painted it, but we both love it, especially, on a gray foggy day! Our house isn’t like the rest of the houses in our neighborhood (it was moved here back in 1963). I felt because it wasn’t the same that we might as well stand out and be different. Although, some of our neighbors were none too thrilled with our color choices at the time, there has been a greater out pouring of love for our uniquely colored house, that people have dubbed the sunshine house, then not. When I’m told how it brings a smile to someone’s face when they see it, that makes me very happy. We live in such a vanilla world these days that I feel we all could use a little sunshine in our lives whenever we can get it!
*Outside the Margins is a fantastic resource for mixed media artists! Kudos to you on having such a great eye. When did you start the site and how has it developed over time? You also sell delightful finished art, can you speak about that too?
I started Outside The Margins back in 2003. After suffering a back injury and my father passing away, I decided to make some changes and follow my artistic passion, life was too short not too. Like the name itself, Outside The Margins, I’m always looking outside the box when it comes to carrying things for OTM. I’m drawn to altered art and mixed media, so my products are geared more towards that aspect. I try to look for products that are not the mainstream. Back in 2005-06 I developed a line of sprayable watercolors called Color Mists, and they have been my all time love, that I use almost daily. Although they are water-soluble, I use them on everything from metals, fabric to wood, and paper then seal them for permanency. We offer 4 sets with 6 different colors per set (Brite Lights-named after the old Lite Brite toy, Molten Metals-which are mostly metallic colors that my sons helped me create because of their fondness for metals, Mother Earth-which are more earthy tones to satisfy the vintage lover at heart, and our last line, Electrifying Neons which of course are BRIGHT glowing colors). We also have several Color Mists’ videos with more in the works. Along with the Color Mists we carry collage packets, collage sheets, Day of the Dead themed items, and vintage ephemera. Right now our Artist Trading Blocks (ATBs) that I like to call chubby blocks have really gotten popular, and what I use to create my birthday chubby cakes.
As for my art, it really does run the contradiction between whimsical bright to altered art grunge using repurposed metal and earthy tones. I’ve sold my art in galleries both locally and out of state gallery, but my goal this year is to put more my art on my etsy site AR Designs.
*At Craft. You. we’re all about doing what you love and loving what you do. You seem to have mastered this. Can you talk about how you got here from there? Do you have any advice for folks who want to do what they love, but can’t see a pathway?
My advice is to “just do it” if I had stopped and thought too much about “what if” or allowed myself to listen to others or my inner critic I would have never started OTM. Be positive and have faith. Yes, it helps to have a game plan, but you also have to believe in yourself, trust, and follow your instincts!
*What’s next for Aileen Roberts and Outside the Margins?
More videos and tutorials are in the works for Outside The Margins. As for myself-my goal is to do more creating, and to continue opening more creative doors, as well as, enjoying my new grandson. I’m looking forward to having future art play dates with him, as he gets older, and encouraging his creative door to stay wide open!