Interview with artist and entrepreneur Kristina Moy

Interview with artist and entrepreneur Kristina Moy

I’ve always admired the dreamers. The ones who inspire with their vulnerability and trust in honest living and creating a life that truly makes them happy. If we allow it, our passion can lead us onto different, amazing paths and will manifest itself in many opportune ways. I have a friend who has such a passion that exemplifies this. With numerous experiences in the marketing and art field, as well as, an eternal love for Harry Potter, Kristina (Krissy) Moy is unstoppable. For this interview, we will hear her thoughts on finding balance, fandom culture and her varied expertise in marketing and art. I am happy to welcome Kristina Moy to this interviewing series.

Connie: Your Black Out Art Facebook page includes some updates regarding different conventions.  Can you tell us a little bit about your first experience attending one?

I got into the conventions when I went to my very first Harry Potter one in 2010. A non-profit called HPEF (HP Education Fanon, Inc.) was hosting a convention called Infinitus, so attending that event opened my eyes quite a bit. There was so much going on with networking, making new friends, going to different presentations and panels, checking out the vendor room and craft fair, hanging out and so much more. I had such a blast and got sucked in to going to conventions. Not only have I helped volunteer and plan programming at conventions ever since, but I even sold some of my art at a couple of the craft fairs. That was actually how Black Out Art was born. I made things like bookmarks and notebooks based on fandoms like Harry Potter, Sherlock and Merlin to start out. When people actually started buying my stuff, I thought, “Hey, I should keep doing this.”

With all the projects you are involved in, how do you find the balance in keeping up with all of them and what advice would you give to others in your situation?

For me, this can be very challenging since I’m an event planner in the day and use what little free time I have for my art. I try to keep a few things in mind: Make sure you don’t push yourself. It’s always tempting to do a lot of different projects, but I know I’m only one person and there are only 24 hours in a day. For me, art isn’t something I can do quickly. I like to take the time to process what I am drawing and keep a narrative going. There is always a story behind each of my pieces. And, I also run an Etsy shop, which involves answering customer questions, processing orders and shipping them out. So that’s why I also keep a keep a notebook and/or sketchbook of ideas. Being a creative person means you get random ideas popping up when you’re sleeping, out to dinner or whatnot. If you take the time to jot it down, it’s something you can revisit later when you DO have more time. Lastly, I try my best to pace myself. When I’m getting ready for artist alley tables at conventions, I make basic deadlines when I need to complete certain tasks, so I can get things printed and created on time. Cramming bookmark making or drawing a couple of nights before a big show isn’t going to do me any good because I want quality over quantity. I want my stuff to sell. So time is the essence here.

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Created by Kristina Moy

On your portfolio website, you mention that you enjoy drawing a lot.  Can you tell us when and how you first got interested in art?

Oh…I’d say I got into drawing around middle school. Eighth grade was my year when a lot of my work was displayed in the showcase in front of our school library. It wasn’t until I was finishing up a pastel illustration of a tiger that my art teacher told me I should consider taking advanced classes going into high school. I thought about what she said for a good while, by taking art electives first before taking an honors class for drawing and painting. That led me to join online art communities to start drawing Harry Potter fan art and to get my studio art minor in university. I had the pleasure of taking high level classes for basic drawing and painting, but also for printmaking and silk screening. With fan and original art, I was always doing experimenting and doing something different.

Since you are currently a marketing coordinator, I was wondering if you could share your thoughts on the importance for businesses and institutions to be involved with the various kinds of social media.

Social media is the KEY to getting people to know you. Word of mouth is soo important for any brand, whether you run a small business or a huge corporation. It’s a quick way to tell people what you’re doing. And if people like what you post, they will share it with friends an family. It’s quick, easy and relatively an affordable way to advertise yourself. Old tactics like billboards and magazine ads don’t quite work as well. We live in a digital age where people are connected to the internet via computers and smartphones. And social media can do wonders…it’s great for engaging with customers, networking, sharing photos of your creation process, and overall a great way to build online presence. There are just so many people who are doing what you are…cooking, drawing, dancing, singing. So I use social media to show others how MY art is different from others.

Taken by Kristina Moy

Of all the different kinds of art you create, which is most fulfilling for you and why?

My tea labels make me really happy because once I’m done with one, I can upload it and release a new tea blend. It’s like a mini-accomplishment every time I release a new blend. I currently have over 70 teas blends on Adagio.com and I love the fact this company embraces creativity from its customers. They give you the power to take teas and blend them together, give it a description and name and even “brand’ it. I think of my tea labels as a collection of art warm-ups for me since I always try to make my labels look good without adding too much detail. Making tea blends gives me the whole aspect of business and art, trying to figure out what will taste good and how to make the label appealing enough so that someone will buy it. It is such a cool process.

As you and I know, you are a huge Harry Potter fan.  Why is the Harry Potter series so special to you?

Harry Potter was my first introduction to fandom and pop culture. It really created this magical world I could go to whenever things got tough. So, through high school and college, I was really able to look up to this series for support. A lot of people might regard Harry Potter as “children’s books” since the characters start off as children, but I think it’s important that people realize how many life lessons there are in these series. There’s magic, but there is also war, violence, friendship, love, prejudice, politics, and growing up. There is such a diversity with the characters; each with their own history and personality. No doubt, there is at least one person that you can relate to. Most importantly, Harry Potter encourages people to believe in anything, and I’ve had the pleasure of meeting so many people (friends and even professional connections) who like Harry Potter and embrace this particular value.

Is there any person in the art or business world you would love to collaborate with in the future?

Of course! It would be so fun to work with artists like Noelle Stevenson, Aun-Juli Riddle, Cara McGee, Megan Lara and so many more people (but that’ll make the list really long!) All of these artists appreciate pop culture as much as I do, and they make fantastic art (tea, comics, shirts, etc.). The key thing: you know that they love what they are doing.

A lot of your work and merchandise includes fandom art.  Why do you think the fandom culture is so strong?

Fandom is something people can relate to. People like Harry Potter, Doctor Who, Sherlock, Avengers, etc. Fandom is a way to connect people with a common interest and get excited about something. I almost consider fandom as a “brand.” People buy coffee at Starbucks or Dunkin’ Donuts because they’ve done a good job in building up and maintaining their brands. They introduce new products and things they hope customers will like. It’s the same way how fandom works; except it works on making communities, so people start talking to each other. When people like a concept, they want to see more of it. But fandom does a great job in actually becoming important to people’s lives (ie. same reason why Harry Potter is important to me). That’s why people will freak out if they see a TARDIS art print or Gryffindor shirt. It’s cool and it means something to them.

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Created by Kristina Moy, taken from Black Out Art Facebook page

You seemed to have made many friends and connections through your art and marketing experiences.  Do you think it’s important to stay in touch with people you meet along the way?

Absolutely! You never know what type of opportunity will come your way, so I always keep my door open. It’s great to have people you can talk to who are in your community and have an interest in what you do. Especially with my art friends, they can geek out with me, but they know how hard it is to create a great piece of work and understand what it means to have “artist block.” These are the folks you can go to if you need help with promoting your stuff. Working on a new project? Have them tweet or make a post to their followers for you, so long you do the same. News will spread to a bigger and new audience that way. With marketing, I find that these connections are key to hang on to. For example, I met some key members from Mugglenet.com, a Harry Potter website that has fandom-related news, trivia, podcasts and more, and they’ve been some key connections in helping promote muggle quidditch for me. In return, I’ve created a few designs to use for merchandise to support their podcast, Alohomora. Being active and connecting with others is crucial for anything you are doing these days. It’s also one of the best ways to meet life-long friends.

Krissy, thank you so much for your thoughtful answers.  It sounds like you’ve gained a lot through your experiences.  I appreciate your sharing all the lessons you’ve learned.  You’ve definitely opened up my eyes a little more about the art, fandom and business world.  I’m excited to see what you’re going to do next!

Taken from Kristina Moy

If you would like to learn more about Kristina Moy, check out her Facebook page, website and Black Out Art online store.

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