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Meet Etsy owner Misha

Where are you from and tell us a little about yourself?
I’m originally from Toronto, but I grew up mostly in Colorado.  I lived in Chicago for many years and also Puerto Rico and the Pacific Northwest.  My husband and I recently moved to Austin, Texas and we love it here.  Especially after many years in Chicago, I can’t tell you what it means to me to walk out to my car and not feel like I am going to be killed by sub-zero temperatures. J  I am very interested in contemporary social issues: race relations, globalization, and social justice.  I like the idea that we all have something to contribute to the needs of our time, and part of our life journey is trying to figure out the unique things that we each have to offer to make the world a better place.
Why did you start your Etsy store?
I really just wanted to try something new.  I have been displaying and selling my art in stores and galleries for years, and I’m comfortable putting myself out there in that way.  Having an on-line store that is actually consolidated and organized  (as opposed to just selling at random times when someone emails me a request) seemed like something worth trying.  I’ve bought art over the years from etsy; I figured why shouldn’t I try selling there too?
What style do you specialize in?
I really love to blend fine art (hand drawn or painted) with digital design.  As for how I merge these things together, you’ll see by looking at my work that I like a lot of action.  I love to fill the space I’m working in; I love finding a way to bring tons of disparate elements together into one composition.  I really envy minimalist artists and who can just develop one cool figure or concept in the big open space of the canvas.  But I just can’t do it!  I want more color, more patterns, more interesting words or figures.
What is your favorite item in your store and why?
Recently, I really love the piece “City Bling”.  I made a digital composite of photos that I had taken in downtown Chicago when I used to live there, and then I painted the geometrical, diamond designs over that.  I really just like the colors in it and the way the whole composition came together.
What is your experience or background in the arts?
I don’t have the most traditional art background; I concentrated in Middle Eastern studies during my undergrad and Conflict Resolution during grad school.  I was a youth worker for many years in Chicago.  So my development as an artist was really an independent endeavor.  I just always made art.  In my mid-twenties I took a few intro courses to learn digital imaging, and that completely impacted the direction of my art.  I started entering shows and showing my work in local cafes.  This helped me to build my confidence over time to the point where I eventually considered myself a real artist.
What is your inspiration for your paintings (do you prefer people, animals, scenes, etc)?
I love gritty and deteriorating urban landscapes.  I love the look of a street post that has been covered over with flyers for years on end, or a billboard that has been half stripped of its signage and is fading in a way that leaves just obscure traces of text and image behind.  Most of the time when I create, I like to start with layers of text and images that look busted up, and then find a way to make them look beautiful.  I also use a lot of hidden references to more spiritual themes, like the writings of the Baha’i Faith.
Do you have plans for expansion?
YES!  But I haven’t really figured out how much my on-line etsy store will be involved in that.  Etsy seems a little hit or miss…who knows if my work will ever “go viral” on-line.  But I plan to keep finding places to show my work and people to connect with who enjoy it!
Anything else you would like us to know?
 I sponsor a woman survivor of war through an incredible organization called Women for Women. ( This group pairs women sponsors with women in the most war torn, devastated places in the world.  The survivors participate in a year program which helps them get back on their feet by learning job skills and how to handle microloans etc.  I use the money I make through etsy to support my “sister,” a woman named Zia who lives in Afghanistan.  So help me to continue to help her, or just check out the organization for yourself!
Any where else you can be found on the net?
My blog
My website

 I encourage all of you to stop by Misha’s Etsy store and see all that she has to offer.  She has a variety of artwork available and two books.  Misha is a new seller on Etsy and I believe her work needs to be exposed more because of it’s beautiful uniqueness.