Introducing Our Featured Artist
Rachel (aka Pixydust) is a homeschooling mom to four perfect kids. She loves to ride dirt-bikes with her family and owns a quilting art business called Pixy's Garden, designing bags and other fun, crazy accoutrement's. She's also an author, a graphic artist, slush-pile reader, and co-founder and former editor of the literary zine, Haruah.
ResAliens (RA) is privileged to catch up with and interview Rachel A Marks (RAM), a busy wife/mom/editor/artist for our November issue as well as feature some of her artwork.
RA: Welcome to ResAliens, Rachel. I've seen quite a bit of your art at different zines. When did you become interested in fantasy art and what's been your journey so far?
RAM: It's funny, because both my parents have pretty normal jobs. My mom works for the city and my dad is a carpenter. But they both have very artistic bents. My dad studied art in collage a little and always held art in high regard. I grew up looking at his drawings and paintings on our walls and the walls of our friends. He was also an avid reader and my mom was a thespian in her free time (she was always dragging me to rehearsal and asking me to help her practice her lines). So, it wasn't a big stretch to see that I would end up doing something artistic.
And fantasy? Well, I guess that would be because I always have my head in the clouds. I grew up watching Star Wars, Ladyhawk, or something else just as fantastical. My favorite books as a kid were Wrinkle in Time and The Wind in the Door. I loved anything dark and tragic and as a teen would sit for hours at a time sketching out The Crow or a girl wondering a graveyard by moonlight.
After I had my daughter, though, the pencils got put aside. I just kept having little ones after that. My youngest son, Caleb, is turning five soon. When he was one I found myself feeling very antsy, so I decided to write a book - well, as we know a person doesn't just write a book - not a good one, anyway. That began a whole new journey and I suddenly found myself desperate to be a published writer. For one project I picked up my pencils to work on a character - sketch him out and get a feeling for him. From there it's been a constant struggle. You know how in the cartoons they've got the angel on one shoulder and the devil on the other. We'll I've got my sketch book on one shoulder begging to be used and my laptop on the other. I'm seriously bi-polar now. Luckily I married a guy who's really "down to earth" and he keeps me sane.
RA: Any interesting projects that you are working on right now?
RAM: I just finished up a project for Double-Edged Publishing. I did some illustrations for a wonderful collection of stories called, Servant of the Manthycore by Michael Ehart that will be released in November. It's turned out great and I'm really excited about all the great backing we're getting for it. Michael is an awesome writer, and I feel really privileged to have been chosen to work with him.
RA: Note - We interview Michael Ehart in Issue 6 of ResAliens. Some of his Manthycore stories can be found online at The Sword Review.
RAM: Other than that I've got a new manuscript project called, Golden, that I'm working on - and loving - you always love your newest baby best, I think. I'm in the grand editing stage of another manuscript project called, The Willow Door. But with home-schooling the four kids I kind of have to choose one thing at a time, so I'm more in pencil mode right now after finishing up the illustrations. I've been drawing a lot, trying new things, and learning loads from some artist friends. I also just raised my hand to weed through the slush at Fear and Trembling, so I'll be helping out over there.
RA: What else do you do for vocation or enjoyment?
RAM: My husband is just a big kid and a huge extreme sports nut. He surfs and mountain bikes and dirt bikes. As a family we spend lots of our time at the beach or the dirt bike track, having all kinds of fun - my sons are both in love with the dirt bikes just like daddy and ride like crazy too, even my five-year-old. We all love camping. Living in Southern California makes for loads of places to plant your trailer and play.
My husband and I are the youth leaders at our church and we now drag our teen kids all over too. We have a lot of fun. We just recently went to a weekend youth conference and I had more fun than I've had in years with those kids. Teenagers keep you young.
For life it's all home-school and keeping up with dishes and laundry (yah, right). My husband's a police officer and works odd hours. We try to make sure we stay on track so we can still be with daddy on his days off.
RA: Where can readers find more of your artwork?
RAM: I have two places for my art. My website gallery, Shadow of the Wood, and my DeviantART gallery. To order prints you just have to email me through my website and I can get you whatever you want.
RA: Thanks, Pixy, for taking the time to spend with us today. Sounds like you have a busy schedule and we appreciate this opportunity to get to know you better. God's best to you in your many and varied projects.