Pieces of Home Mosaics Shop

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Artist Amy VanGaasbeck

It is time to meet
 Amy VanGaasbeck
She is the owner of
Sit back and enjoy! I'm so excited to be writing this! I just love her work! Also, Amy is my home town girl! Not only does she have a shop on Etsy... She has brick and mortar shop too! Right in our beautiful town of Baker City, Oregon! First, let's find out about her Etsy Shop... Here we go!
What do you sell?
 I sell my original fine art. Right now, that includes oil paintings, acrylic paintings, drawings, a few hand-pulled artist prints, and ACEO miniature paintings. I hope to add sculpture to the list in the future.
How did you get started with Etsy?
I kept hearing about it and reading about it in magazines, and it sounded like a good idea. I sell a lot of vintage and pre-owned items on Ebay, but I liked the boutique/handcrafted atmosphere of Etsy so I thought I would give it a shot. I started off with my original Etsy shop, Gomboggitdesigns, which included art, jewelry, vintage items, and some craft supplies. I decided to separate my fine art into its own shop after a while.
When did you get interested in making your Art?
I have been creative since I was about three years old. I started out drawing princesses and family members, and as I grew up, my skills improved and I broadened from drawing into painting, and more recently into sculpture.
Where does your inspiration come from?
I find inspiration everywhere. I am a very eclectic person. I love reading, shopping for vintage and second hand items, and trying new things/subjects/media in art. So I can find inspiration from a book I read, or a favorite doll, or even a broken vase. I don't mind buying cracked or broken dishes or pottery if they have nice lines and would look good in a still life painting.
Who taught you or how did you learn your art form?
My mother was my first teacher. She is very artistic. She taught me to draw and paint, and a few years ago, took me through the steps of creating a reborn baby doll. Besides my mother, I was pretty much self taught until I started working on my fine art degree through Academy of Art University, which I am still working on. Since then, I have learned from master artists like sculptor Thomas Marsh, painters Mark Jason Bowen, and Jennifer Almodova, and graphic novel illustrator Leandro Ng.
Where do you see your Shop in 5 years from now?
I am really working to make my fine art into a career. I hope that Etsy will be a part of making that happen. I am still not strong in promoting my Etsy shops, and know this is important to making it successful.
How do you manage your time between Etsy and the rest of your life?
 I am a list person. I live by a list---it helps me get through everything I need to do. I am a homeschooling mother, college student, have businesses on Etsy and Ebay, and I own my own real-life art gallery, The Dancing Elephant Gallery, and I also have the normal everyday housekeeping and gardening that need to be done. People ask about what I do in my spare time---I just laugh--there is no spare time! But I love my life and I make sure to separate work from family time. Anything business related, I try to do while at the gallery, so that when I am home, I can focus on the home and the family.
I want to take a minute here and plug Amy's gallery...
Amy has a beautiful gallery in Baker City. Oregon.
She has some of my stuff in there too!!! Woohooo Amy!!!
The Dancing Elephant Gallery LLC
(Click on the elephant and you will go straight to here facebook page!)
Below is from Amy's "About" page from
The Dancing Elephant Gallery LLC.
I really want you all to read it!!
 The Dancing Elephant Gallery LLC is a locally owned gallery and gift shop in Baker City, Oregon, featuring fine art and high quality handcrafted gifts by local and regional artists. We believe in supporting our local economy! Come check us out!
The Dancing Elephant Gallery is the dream child of Amy VanGaasbeck, a Fine Art major at the Academy of Art University. Amy has long desired to have a gallery of her own that would help other artists and craftspeople as well.

 In 2011, after a long battle with Ewing's Sarcoma, a rare and aggressive cancer, Amy's sister, Cathy Rodli, passed away. Cathy wholeheartedly supported Amy's dream of having ...a gallery, and wanted to have an active role in making the gallery thrive. Unfortunately, she didn't get to see it happen. Cathy was a wonderful ballet dancer, and she collected elephant figurines and other items her entire life, so it made sense to honor her memory by naming the gallery "The Dancing Elephant".
Ok.. back to the interview!
Is this a hobby, part-time job, or full-time job?
My art is a full time job. Right now, Etsy is one of the avenues I use to get my work out there, but I don't do Etsy full time.
Do you make or stock items you love, or what will sell?
A little of both. I have had better luck selling ACEOs (baseball card size paintings) over anything else, so I make more of them than larger pieces of work, and I can make two or three a day if I am focused enough . They are small, easily affordable pieces of real art, but don't require the commitment of a large piece. They are easily collectible but don't take a lot of room to store or display. They are a really fun idea. I love them and they sell.
Where else can we find you online?
My other Etsy shop: www.etsy.com/shop/Gomboggitdesigns 
This is my gallery website. I am still working on updating it with paintings. www.dancingelephantgallery.com
This is my facebook page with a lot of my fine art. www.facebook.com/AmyVanGaasbeckFineArt?fref=ts
Did you always want to have your own business?
From the time I was about in 5th grade I had an entrepreneurial mindset. I would gather things I no longer wanted, and sell them to friends and family. In high school I started making earrings and hairclips and selling them at a local craft mall, and then came craft bazaars. I always wanted a shop of my own but never really knew how to go about making it happen. Internet stores like Etsy have been a great encouragement in that direction.
 Any other thoughts you want to share with us?
My uncle, a successful radio and TV voice over artist, once told me that although talent is a wonderful asset, the real key to success is something called "yagottawanna". If you don't have this, your talent won't go anywhere. If you have this, but no talent, you'll find a way to make it happen. You have got to want your dream badly enough to make it happen--not sit back and wait for it to happen, but plan it, and work your tail end off to make it happen. Educate yourself. Improve your skills. Network with other professionals. Be creative in your thinking. I have remembered this throughout my adult life.
 People might tell you that you can't make it. I have heard from many people that pursuing art as a career is a waste of time and money and that I will never succeed. I should go into accounting or teaching or something more practical. I would hate, at the end of my life, to look back and regret not pursuing the dream that I believed I could achieve. It's important to take care of your family and your finances, but it's also important to fulfill what you were meant to do. And if you can find a way to follow your dream and pay the bills, why not try?
I just want to say that I think Amy's Uncle is right on the money! I also.. think that Amy's talent is outstanding and her drive is encouragement to us all!
Thank you so much Amy for sharing with us! The next time I see you in town .... be ready for a big ole hug!
Everyone please take time and check out Amy's shop!
You will not be disappointed with what you find there!
Great Art for yourself and for the ones you love!
Everyone deserves a beautiful piece of art for their home!!
Hey, great wedding gifts too!!!
Side note: I finally figured out how to and a photo link to the photo itself!!
 Thanks for reading!


  1. Thank you for sharing the work of a very talented artist!

  2. Thank you Kate for introducing this Awesome Artist! She is so talented!

  3. Thank you so much for interviewing me! I am honored!

  4. This is a great post! Amy's art is fantastic and her story is just a great. I love what her Uncle told her. I'm going to have to start using that myself!

  5. This is an awesome article Kate. Amy is such a talented artist!!

  6. Beautiful art and a great read!

  7. Your blogs are alwasys grand Kate - Nice work she does.

  8. Wonderful art! Thank you so much!

  9. Beautiful inspiring work and I love the title "Dancing Elephant"!

  10. Thank you Kate for introducing us to very interesting artist! Love the story as well!