dinsdag 14 juni 2016

Interview: Julie Fei Fan Balzer (English version)

 Julie Fei-Fan Balzer's Youtube channel is probably one of the very first channels I subscribed to. Mainly because I was interested in mixed media painting.

Julie at the CHA MEGA Show  2015
Most people within the US might recognize or know her as the host or guest on many PBS and HSN craft programs. But for the people outside of USA it is a different matter. We mostly know her for her informative Youtube channel. Soon I discovered that there is more to Julie than just mixed media.

Apart from her mixed media projects, Julie is also an author, blogger, teacher and has 6 instructional DVD's under the belt.

Carve Stamp Play instructional book
CD: Stamp-making adventures, All about faces and Collage fast & furious!

She is also inspiring people with her openness about her weight loss journey.

She descends from a long line of  prominent anthropologists and/ or authors,  Francis Lang Kwang Hsü (grandfather) and Eileen Hsü Balzer (mother) and Richard Balzer (father).


HA: You are a self taught artist. How old were you when you started with scrap booking or art in general?
JFFB: As long as I can remember I’ve enjoyed making things. My mother often sat me at the kitchen counter with an art project. I would spend hours making things while she cooked and worked on household chores. I started scrapbooking in 2003-ish and began paying my bills by making art in 2013.

HA: How many years did you attend Brown University and what was your field of study?
JFFBI spent four years at Brown and received a degree in Theatre.

HA: Art in general is a form of discipline in Asia. It is believed that by mastering fine arts you are actually mastering your brain and hands to perform as one yet also apart. Being from Chinese descent, do you think that this is what drives your talent as an artist?
JFFB: I think I’m driven by curiosity. Most of what I create is sparked by the question, “What if?”

HA: Your mother, Eileen Hsü-Balzer, is also an author. She writes about differences between old and modern China. Were you inspired by her to write your own books about art?
JFFB: I come from a long line of writers. My grandfather, Francis L.K. Hsü, and my father, Richard Balzer, have both written many books. I’m not sure that I was motivated to write the book by their accomplishments. Rather it stemmed from a desire to share my love of stamp carving with the widest possible audience!

Francis Lang Kwang Hsü
HA: Not many people know your family history. Your grandfather Francis Lang Kwang Hsü was the first of your family to move to USA. He made a good name for himself through hard work and dedication to what he believed in. What is your proudest memory of his journey?
JFFB: He was the first non-white tenured professor at Northwestern University. While I think that’s a pretty wonderful professional accomplishment, his most impressive accomplishment is the long and loving marriage he and my grandmother shared until the day he died. He was also a wonderful father to my mother. They were extremely close and he was always there for her.

HA: Where do you find your inspiration for art projects?
JFFB: Curiosity is my number one source of inspiration. I also enjoy visiting museums and galleries.

Personal Scrapbook layout
HA: On your Blog you posted about a scrapbook layout you made after you decided to get divorced. You made reference to a feather and how you felt the need to use it in your layout. It makes perfect sense to me, but do you have any advise for crafters alike in times of emotional distress?
JFFB: I think it’s impossible to give advice that pertains to every situation or every person. I know that for me, making art was a wonderful outlet for exploring emotions that I wasn’t capable of putting into words.

Julie's weight diary
HA: You are very open about your weight loss journey. I find it inspiring when someone as well known as yourself uses their journey to inspire other people to reach their goals in life. What made you decide to go on this journey and where do you find the courage to follow through with it?
JFFB: I recommend Weight Watchers to everyone. It really works. It really helped me change my habits. I’m a very thrifty person and because Weight Watchers is all about working within a “budget” of Points, it was easy to stay On Plan.

HA: You are a designer by trade. Who do you design for other than Balzer Design?
JFFB: I design stamps for Impression Obsession and Art Foamies and stencils for The Crafter’s Workshop.

HA: Getting to where you are in life takes hard work. If a beginning artist asks you for advise on how to get to where you are, what will you advise them to do?
JFFB: Be authentic. Follow your passion. Be a nice person. Take classes. Make art every single day no matter what. Be generous. Believe in karma.

HA: What are your thoughts on home made vs store bought products?
JFFB: I think both are great. It’s similar to food. You can make your own chicken stock or you can buy it from the supermarket. You can make your own paints or you can buy them from the store. Both are good. They’re just different.

HA: You like to travel. What is your most favorite place you visited to thus far, and what is the ultimate place on your bucket list?
JFFB: I have a goal to spend a week on every continent in the world. The only continent I’m missing is Antarctica. Have to make it there! I’d also like to visit Japan and Spain. In terms of returning, I’d love to go back to Paris, the Netherlands, and Hawaii.

HA: Life is all about personal growth. With everything you had to go through, how did that influence your take on life?
JFFB: I think adversity has made me kind. You never know what someone else is going through, so what does it hurt to be a little bit kinder than you feel?

HA: Tell us one positive and one negative thing about yourself.
JFFBI’m a workaholic – it’s both a positive and a negative.

"Be authentic.  Follow your passion.  Be a nice person.  Take classes.  Make art every single day no matter what.  Be generous.  Believe in karma."

- Julie Fei Fan Balzer

Interviewer: Sandie van der Graaf

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