In 2008, Angela Bandurka made the decision to move from a decade of work at a fast-paced, lucrative graphic design position in Seattle and devote herself full-time to the work that she was passionate about.
She was aware that succeeding in the field of fine art wouldn’t be easy. We all know folks who take the path of least resistance and work jobs they don’t love, anchored to them by fear, and and often by a mistaken sense of security. Only the very best of us (in my opinion) have the courage and tenacity to strike out on their own and succeed doing the thing they love.
In Bandurka’s case, being a fine artist requires focusing her efforts in several directions. “To be a full-time artist when you’re not super well known or ‘famous’ means that you’re hustling all the time,” Bandurka said.
Among the many hats she wears to make her profession work for her are: facilitating Corks & Canvass painting events, showing work at galleries, painting private commissions, teaching private lessons, acting as a manufacturer’s rep for M. Graham & Co. (a high-end paint company), selling art online, doing graphic design for websites, conducting workshops and classes, and publishing in books and magazines (she even prints cards and a yearly calendar of her work). By combining all of these individual enterprises, Bandurka pulls it off.
I’ve been fortunate enough to meet a few working artists. Those who succeed, aside from being passionate about their work, have one common trait that I’ve identified. They work hard. Please dismiss the notion of the Bohemian layabout who jots off a canvas in an hour and makes a fortune. When people disparage artists as a “drain on the economy” or suggest that they get a “real job,” they speak in ignorance and perhaps, out of envy.
Bandurka’s efforts extend to sweating out exactly what work should be included in every show she puts together.
“When I’m doing a show for a gallery, I try to work in a series. At Cole [Gallery] I currently have my ‘Window Shopping’ pieces, but my show at the Edmonds Library is a collection of some of my earliest pieces that date back to the early 2000‘s, combined with more recent pieces. Here I hope to show the transition of my work over time.“
Bandurka uses primarily acrylics and oils in her compositions, sometimes gouache, and seems to concentrate on still life and portraiture. I’m fascinated by her skill at creating translucent images. She paints glass as well as anyone I’ve seen. “I paint what I want to paint anymore,” she said. “If you’re not excited about what you’re painting, it shows up in your work. I’ve gotten to the point where I don’t try to guess what will sell. I’ve discovered I can’t guess — I’ve never been able to guess — I just hope that my work will resonate with others.“
Taking on commissions has been an interesting aspect of the job for Bandurka. “I wish I could paint portraits all the time,” she said. She’s done several 50th wedding anniversary commissions and even a couple of proposal commissions — where the aspiring groom has worked a painting into the popping of the question. “I just finished an ink drawing of a house commissioned by a mom whose son and daughter-in-law became first time homeowners, and recently completed a portrait of the first woman tennis player to be inducted into Baylor University Athletic’s Hall of Fame,” she said.
On the workshop front, winning first place in Artist Magazine’s national All Media competition for one of her tea cup paintings, attracted the attention of admirers in Georgia. As a result, she’ll be conducting a couple of workshops there next year. She plans to make her Big Island plein air workshop in Hawaii a biennial event, and she continues to offer very popular classes at Cole Gallery.
I asked Bandurka if she had any advice for artists interested in taking the plunge full time.
“I’d tell them:
1) You have to be willing to be very budget minded.
2) Be organized! Keep detailed records of your work and where it’s shown. Details about shows, competitions and galleries should be kept for reference.
3) Get to know how to market your work — online and off. You’ll spend more time on your computer than you might imagine. Know how to create a simple website; get to know how to market yourself through social media; understand the simple press release and how to send it out; enter competitions.
4) Remove distractions and get to work! Turn off your phone, television, and remove any other distractions. It’s important to get into your studio and create something each day!
5) Consider teaching. Most of my steady income comes from teaching workshops!”
Sounds like a “real job” to me. Artists like Bandurka are assets to our community that deserve our attention and support. Take the opportunity to view her work and observe first hand the achievements of one of Edmonds’ finest and hardest-working artists.
Bandurka is now showing at
107 5th Ave S.
Through Jan. 15
The Edmonds Public Library
650 Main St.
Presented by the Edmonds Art Commission
Closes Jan. 26
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Fridays & Saturdays: 8 p.m.
Sundays: 2 p.m.
9673 Firdale Ave
(In Firdale Village)
Twist of the Magi
O’Henry’s iconic and ironic holiday classic gets a remake as the audience is transported to a 1940s radio studio. (See Emily Hill’s review here.) With this adaptation, Managing Director and actor Debra Rich Gettleman gets a writing credit as well. If it’s true to Phoenix form, expect to find yourself laughing out loud in spite of yourself.
Tickets at this link.
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Thursday, Dec. 21
5 – 8 p.m.
Art Walk Edmonds
Every Third Thursday, Art Walk Edmonds brings hundreds of folks into town to enjoy a broad array of activities. Artists are demonstrating their craft or just available to talk about their work. Pick up a map at a gallery and see how many of the twenty-two participating locations you can visit.
This month’s featured artist is Valerie Josi
102 5th Ave S.
The ethereal, luminous, fluid paintings of local artist Valerie Josi will be featured at Pelindaba Lavender.
“Although I experiment with all media, and enjoy all types of creative expression , acrylic paint seems to be my go-to choice,” said Josi.
You can also meet Angela Bandurka at Cole Gallery; drop by Zinc Art & Object where Seattle artist Francine Moo Young will be showing her distinctive bags, jewelry and wraps; or drop into ARTspot, where a half a dozen local artists will be available to make holiday ornaments with you. Sound Styles will have music and caroling from 5:15 to 7:15 p.m. Don’t forget Gallery North, Aria Studio Gallery, Rebekah’s or a dozen other participating businesses. There’s always something interesting happening during Art Walk.
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Friday, 7 p.m.
Saturday, 2 p.m. & 7 p.m.
B3ND – Our Time
The Phoenix Theatre
9673 Firdale Ave.
A collection of songs that explores what it means to be human, and young adult in this usually transitional an exciting time. Featuring songs from shows such as Little Women, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, Cabaret, Wicked, and more.
“B3ND – Our Time” Challenges audience and actors alike to rise up to the thrilling adventure of owning one’s life.
Learn more at Ballyhootheatre.org
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Saturday, Jan. 13
Sno-King Meaningful Movies presents:
Following The Ninth
8109 224th St. S.W.
(Home of Edmonds Unitarian Universalist Congregation)
In his final symphony, Beethoven created an anthem of joy that embraces the transcendence of beauty over suffering.
Following The Ninth traces the global impact of this magnificent masterpiece.
You can see the movie trailer here:
More information at meaningfulmovies.com.
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Saturday, Jan. 20
6 p.m.- doors open
2018 Annual Burns Night Dinner
Presented by Kenmore and District Pipe Band
The Nile Country Club
6601 244th St. S.W.
It’s dinner and a show, Scottish style. The great Scottish poet Robert Burns is remembered each year on the anniversary of his birth – well, in this case, on the 20th instead of the 25th. If you’ve never been to a Bobby Burn’s night and experienced the parade of the haggis, bagpiping and highland dancing – you should give it a whirl. Tickets must be purchased in advance at Kcpipeband.com.
— By James Spangler
When not actively scheming about ways to promote the arts in Edmonds, James Spangler can be found (highly caffeinated) behind the counter of his bookstore on 4th Avenue.