We had the good fortune of connecting with Visi Herman and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Visi, what do you attribute your success to?
One thing a lot of artists think will make or break their brand is consistency, but I don’t feel that’s the most important part. Having a style you gravitate towards can help people understand what you make and what to expect from you, but growing, experimenting, improving, and trying new things are all fundamental parts of being a human. You can’t expect yourself to make the same genre or same style of art forever, or you’d quickly become disinterested and have to back away from everything you built. What I’ve found to be the most important part of being an artist who exists online is to find a space to share your authentic self with your audience. People like to see good art, and they like to see good art consistently, but even more so people are drawn towards stories they can connect with. Your audience wants to know about a new tool you discovered that helps with your art-making process, or see what you wore the other day when you were dressed up. People will care more about your brand if you give them an opportunity to care about the person making the art. As someone who’s rather introverted and easily exhausted by social media, this is something I’ve been trying to get better at!
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I think the seeds of my professional art career were planted while I worked in retail for jobs that treated their employees as disposable. I thought that’s just what ‘work’ was supposed to be–it was a place that you went to be miserable for 9 hours and then you came home to do the things you actually wanted to do, but didn’t have the energy for any more. My goal was to work as a full time artist–I wanted to be able to pay my bills and support myself entirely from my artwork. I finally ended up reaching this goal about a year before I finished college, which helped me to finish faster as I could change my work schedule to work around school. Now that I’m teaching, it’s great that I can work my art schedule around my teaching schedule as well. My favorite part of being a freelance creative is making merchandise. Essentially, I think of an idea and scribble down different iterations in my sketchbook, usually next to my to-do list for the day. Then spend the next few months figuring out how to make it real. A lot of the time I don’t even have the words to describe what I want to make, so my process involves a lot of research. It’s fun to just learn what kind of materials are out there and expand your knowledge of art-making mediums. This is probably my favorite part of my job, other than the actual art-making. Ask me again in a year and I’m sure my answer will be different, but currently I’m really enjoying design. I’ve been working with graphic design as a tool for my illustration and it’s great to see just how it’s changed and expanded my style. One avenue I’ve started exploring this last year has been clothing design. I tend to follow the aspects of art that I’m excited about so I can constantly learn new artistic skills. Currently that looks like a Kickstarter campaign I’m running to produce a line of inclusive button-ups. I want to use my art skills to better my community, and I finally feel like I’m at a point that I can do so.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Oh man, that’s tough because I haven’t been outside in so long I feel so out of touch. If someone was visiting Denver in a world post-Covid, I would definitely want to take them to all of the art galleries and antique/vintage shops along Broadway, like Spectra Art Space and the 10 Penny Store. I’d have to go to the Colorado history museum and the Kirkland design museum downtown, too, since they’re both fantastic little places that don’t get as much love as the Denver art museum or the museum of nature and science. For food I’d probably head over to Havana and Jewell for KBBQ, ramen, Korean fried chicken, and boba. There’s an amazing little shopping center at that intersection with a fantastic selection of Asian foods, I highly recommend all of them! We’ve also got a lot of really cool antique shops like H&E Furniture on Evans, or Brass Armadillo in Wheat Ridge, and the Antique Mall on Havana. There’s so much cool stuff to explore in Denver.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Oh man, there are so many people I would need to thank that we’d be here for a while to get through all of them. I especially want to thank my family and friends who’ve helped me prep for events and stayed up until 2 in the morning with me cutting out stickers and buttons. If you’ve existed around me while I’m exhausted and your response was to offer help, you deserve more accolades than I could ever give you.