I’d like to welcome to the blog, artist Elizabeth Shaffner of Elizabeth Shaffner Design (ESD). I was introduced to Elizabeth through my sister, Carole. Carole works with George Powell who happens to be Elizabeth’s Marketing/Business partner, and boyfriend. (George loves to spread the word about Elizabeth’s art and is helping her with the business aspects of ESD; following his passion for Business Management. Not to mention earning MAJOR boyfriend points!)
Elizabeth has been drawing and doing artwork for as long as she can remember. She reminisces, “I remember when I was younger, I used to draw and use “paint” on our old Microsoft computer for hours at a time and sometimes would try to make my own coloring pages.“ She shares that her talent in art wasn’t really recognized until high school (Shout out to Linganore High School in Frederick, MD!). She found that she had a knack for charcoal drawings and created some pieces that she still considers her favorites. Although time consuming, she still finds that charcoal/pastels are her favorite medium. Elizabeth Shaffner Design, or ESD, was founded and created in February 2015, when Elizabeth began to freelance her graphic design skills as an artist. Soon her list of clients began to grow.
Elizabeth describes her business as “Versatile!” She explains, “Like me, my business offers many different art forms, commissions, graphic and logo design and much more.” She loves to use charcoal, acrylic paint, and pastels and uses Adobe suites and her Wacom tablet for all of her graphic illustrations and artwork. ESD designates the versatility through highlighted “projects” on their website. She has illustrated a shirt for @Sammohog, the pet pig of NBC’s Ninja Warrior star athlete, Jessie Graff, has designed websites and logos for current national businesses, as well as local up-and-coming organizations. “In addition,” she adds, “George and I, have been designing and crafting some Maryland Pride artwork that I have created into magnets. We have successfully sold out of our supply thus far but will be getting more in asap!”
Her life has always been about creativity. She explains, “Doing my art, whether personal or public, helps calm me down, keeps me sane and also aids in my decision making. I think that everyone has inner artistic talent, and I find it to be a very conventional way to express oneself.” She has kept many personal journals where she would doodle and express herself privately over the years. When her talent started to get noticed, she would still disappear into her room to create. Only when she believed a piece was finished, would she then display it to her family. Earlier on in her career, social media wasn’t quite prominent yet, so she wouldn’t often post her work online. In fact, many of her friends didn’t even know that she was an artist! She shares, “It was my safe zone, but I am so happy and thrilled to be sharing that side of me to the public now.”
Elizabeth gets inspiration from everyday life. Sometimes the hue of a sunset, or color of a car will spark an emotion in her. Other times people and personalities will spark that same emotion. She shares, “I also found inspiration after hitting a very dark period in my life, and pulling myself back up from it in the pursuit of success.” She says of her relationship with George, “George and I were together before the business started and we have grown to the level we are at now, and keep growing, because we are both so passionate about what we do.” He has a Business Management background, and Elizabeth has a degree in Art and Mass Communication. Together they make the perfect business team.
Professionally she is most proud of her recent participation in her first art show held this past July. The show was through an organization called RAW Artists (which you might remember from “The Vintage Key” blog post published July 9, 2017). Elizabeth was invited to participate and considers it a really significant professional leap. She says, “I am so proud to be a RAW Artist now and look forward to participating in more art shows and festivals in the future. I think the more outreach and recognition I can get, the better my success will be.” They are also currently selling her original artwork on www.elizabethshaffnerdesign in the form of metallic magnets and prints.
Elizabeth’s art is her true passion, so her goal is to remain an artist for life. Whether it is graphic or traditional, she wants to keep making an impression in this world through her work. She confesses, “I hope to find it on many different walls throughout the world. And of course, I want to inspire others to make art as well.” She adds, “I would love to remain in business, with George, for our entire lives!” (So sweet!) “That’s the best part, of our business. We can make the most of our dreams!”
Personally she is most proud of actually putting her artwork out for the world to see. It has always been so personal to her and something that she kept in secret, but now that she has begun to share it with others; people she doesn’t even know; she sees the effect it has on their lives. “The feeling is so remarkable!” She goes on, “I am also so proud of my boyfriend, George, for helping me to excel on a business level, as well as building our amazing relationship.” (Again, so sweet.)
Elizabeth says, “I would love to inspire others to get out and follow their dreams. Life can be so very hard at times. I’ve been there, and rock bottom will hit hard, but there is always a way out. Find out what inspires you and express it!” She explains that there are so many forms of art in which you can express yourself and the artist community is so welcoming and positive, and consistently growing. She shares, “So many people tell me that they wish they had artistic talent, like mine, and they cut themselves short. But, all I do is take chances and try new things and sometimes they work, sometimes they don’t. Lol. But when you try, that is when you find your talent and it feels so, so good!”
1 “Harbor Lights”
3 “Sammo Hog” 2017 graphic design illustration for Jesse Graff
4 “MD Blue Crab” 2017 mixed graphic and traditional media
5 “Sun Daze” 2016 collagraph print
6 “Bohdi” 2017 graphic illustration
7 “Zebra” 2012 acrylic on canvas
8 “Lotus Blossom” 2014 acrylic on canvas
9 “One Love” 2016 acrylic on canvas