Interview with Artist Michelle Mospens of My Personal Artist

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My Personal Artist is one of the premier invitation design houses. The husband and wife team of Michelle and James Mospens specializes in hand painted watercolor designs and letterpress wedding invitations. Last week, Michelle took time from her busy schedule to answer some questions I had about their business.

Your new web site design for MyPersonalArtist.com highlights your watercolor technique. Tell me why your design is so unique compared to artists that design on the desktop.

Each watercolor is very personal to our clients. Let’s use Melissa and Charles
invitation as an example. This is the very spot Charles asked for Melissa’s hand in marriage.

My Personal Artist watercolor design 1

Another example is a lakeside tree that was painted for Kristina and Ryan. Their guests were in awe when they arrived at the very location featured on the unique invitation.

My Personal Artist watercolor design 2

Tell me about the experience of working with a client and creating unique artwork especially for that person.

It is very simple. They tell me what they want. I paint it.

How long does the process take and can you describe what you give of yourself to create original art for a client?

After my client orders creation of the custom illustration it can take 6 months or more to create due to the other stationery orders being processed in our studio. Remember, there is just James–my husband–and I running My Personal Artist. My mother helps when needed by hand tearing edges and hand-tying our lovely bows. One watercolor painting takes a minimum of 15 minutes.

Have you transitioned your illustration and watercolor painting to the desktop? If not, why?

If you are asking if I use digital programs to draw with, the answer is only
when it is a simple silhouette like my original ‘seaside stars’ or ‘palm fronds’ motif. We use Macs to layout the wording for proofs. All paintings are hand painted with actual watercolor paint.

What makes letterpress invitations so special?

Have you ever felt and looked at letterpress? It is amazing. They history behind letterpress printing is also amazing. The impression the press leaves in the thick paper is luxurious.

Tell me about the invitation climate during the time you started My Personal Artist. You mention on your site that you were one of the first to offer custom invitations. When did you start your web site?

Yes, I was creating handmade wedding invitations before it was cool.

In 1998, I started My Personal Artist out of a very small sunroom in our home, hand painting greeting cards, drawing portraits for cards and more. I used a free area on AOL to post my art. The domain name was crazy long. Then, in 2000, I started MyPersonalArtist.com

That’s quite an accomplishment to have kept it running until now. As a fun aside, what was your experience with computers and the internet prior to the My Personal Artist web site?

It was great! I asked for a designer to build my site and the quote was $2,500.00. Five years ago a cool site design was $20,000.00. Back then, I could not afford $2,500.00 to hire someone so I thought for that amount, I should buy a Mac and the software to build my own.

What roles does James’ play in the business?

My husband James plays a major role in our business. We’ve been married for 17+ years and have worked together for 11+ years! He does the accounting, printing, production, shipping and burning of all paper edges (since the last time I did I almost passed out). I still maintain the website, SEO, customer service, client meetings in our public studio, social media, illustration, photography, PR, marketing, and advertising.

Your work has been featured in a number of mainstream wedding magazines and other high profile publications. Can you mention some of the projects you were involved with that were big enough to get you that kind of coverage?

Honestly, one day the editor of Modern Bride found my website online, loved my original beach themed wedding invitations and called for samples. That is when James had to quit his job and help me full time.

Today people pay big bucks for PR and wait for their PR person to get them attention. It is amazing. Back then you were actually chosen because your work stood out, not because you paid someone.

I’ve worked with A-list celebrities and other fabulous clients. They talk to their friends. Word of mouth is still the best advertising.

Recommended Links:
My Personal Artist
Michelle’s blog, A Wedding Sketchbook

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Joshua Birch

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