June's Artist & Ambassador of the Month: Crystal Swimm

by Stephen Hans

1) What kind of alcohol ink artist are you? How did you get started? Tell us a little about you.

I guess I am an experimental mixed media abstract alcohol ink artist (aren't we all?!) :) I also like to incorporate my lasers into my work as much as possible to create one-of-a-kind complete pieces.

I got my Bachelor of Fine Arts in 2001 from Georgia State University in Atlanta, Georgia. I worked as a corporate interior designer for 9 years years, then worked as the art department coordinator at a local university for a couple of years, and then moved to Atlanta where I was in marketing & graphic design for a commercial real estate firm for 8 years before moving to be close to my family in late 2020 after my mom passed away.

My first experience with alcohol inks was in 2017 - my sister-in-law had gifted me a couple inks to try. I had previously been working with watercolor and I really didn't care for the alcohol inks at all - they were uncontrollable and stained everything. So, I put them away and didn't think twice.

Several months later, my 59 year old mom was diagnosed with breast cancer and I was struggling mentally while we waited for tests, chemo, radiation, etc. My regular hobbies weren't doing it for me, so in looking for an artistic outlet, I pulled out my inks again and fell in love immediately. As a recovering control freak, I think the wild, unruly nature of inks was just what I needed - a gentle reminder that we are never really in control.

2) What would you say are your specialties as an alcohol ink artist? What sets you apart?

I think my specialties are maybe my circle of life pieces - a lot of white space with colorful rings of ink, then embellished with a paintbrush. Alternatively, some of my favorite pieces to create are my flutterer multimedia pieces I create with my laser, wood, acrylic sheets, and alcohol ink. I'm not sure what sets me apart - I love seeing the influences of each other in our beautiful alcohol ink art community.

I have a strong love for alcohol ink artists and want us all to succeed. When I first started laser cutting hexagon coasters shapes for myself to ink on, others ink artists reached out asking for me to make them available. That offering through my Etsy shop is continuously growing and now includes earrings, wall panels, moon kit hangings, trays, etc.,

3) Do you teach how to do this at all? How can we learn from you?

I'm always happy to help in any way, however as a true introvert, I don't think I'm a great teacher. I try to film and share my processes through Instagram primarily, and I do have a few more detailed videos on my very poorly maintained YouTube: Swimming in Color - YouTube.

4) What advice for new alcohol ink artists would you offer?

Just do the thing. I think what held me back in the beginning was worrying about wasting supplies. And although a lot of non-porous materials take ink differently, I recommend getting some ceramic tiles from the hardware store and just playing. Also, not all isopropyl alcohol is created equal - there are some beautiful effects you can get from less concentrated solutions, however for me, the 99% made all the difference.

5) What have you enjoyed most about using T-Rex Inks? Do you have any in-depth review videos / posts about our inks we can link to?

My favorite thing about T-Rex inks has to be the vibrance and range of colors. I absolutely love how they complement each other - and I love how they are available in cool tones and warm tones - it really sets up the artist for great success with their color palettes.

This piece is using T-Rex (clearly) WOOHOO - Alcohol Ink Art Rings Process

And this one, too - FUN! Alcohol Ink - Fairy Ring

Thanks so much for sharing your art with us Crystal!

Fans can find more of Crystal Swimm's wonderful artworks at the links below:

Instagram - www.instagram.com/latsyrca
Etsy - www.etsy.com/shop/SwimminginColor
YouTube - www.youtube.com/SwimminginColor