Frequently Asked Questions

 How did Iris discover finger painting?

Iris began finger painting while living in Taiwan for a year after college. One day, while she was painting in her small apartment, she was finishing up a painting with yellow flowers, and noticed that all of her brushes were stained a deep blue. Instead of carrying all of her brushes down the muggy hallway to the community kitchen to clean them, Iris decided to finish up the painting with her fingertips. Within ten strokes she knew that she had discovered something groundbreaking. The next day, she tracked down a pair of medical gloves. She has not used paint brushes since that day in 2010.


What inspired Iris to become an artist?

From a young age Iris knew that she loved to draw. She was praised by her teachers and classmates for the drawings she created. She put in many hours of practice throughout her childhood and continues learning things in each painting she produces today. Iris was encouraged by both her parents, two extremely creative people, who never discouraged her career in art.


Where did Iris grow up?

Iris was born in Maple Valley, Washington at home with the help of a midwife. She grew up on a microfarm where her hippie parents raised livestock, and where countless pets ran amuck. Pets such as exotic parrots, reptiles, wild baby animals, cats, dogs, rabbits, mice, and other animals. Her parents were both creative people, her mother a piano teacher and her father a cabinet maker. Iris was always encouraged to pursue her dreams, placing love for ones work above wealth. 


 Where did Iris go to school?

Iris attended Washington State University where she earned a degree a Bachelors of Fine Art. Her junior year was spent at a small art academy in Florence, Italy called Accademia Italiana. Iris also obtained her Masters in Teaching K-8 in 2009 from Western Governors University. 


How long has Iris been finger painting?

Iris has been finger painting since 2010.


Where does Iris get inspiration for her pieces?

Iris takes ideas from her everyday life, whether it be a shaking dog during a canoe trip, a rainy day seen through a windshield, or her own friends posed into positions she dreams up. Traveling also plays a significant role in Iris's painting process. Iris takes frequent trips abroad, capturing countless photos that she can use later in her New York art studio.


What artists influence Iris's work?

Her work is influenced most by three of her favorite painters: Klimt, Van Gogh, and Picasso (his blue period). 


What advice does Iris have for young, aspiring artists?

Iris often tells young artists that hours and hours of practice are essential to reaching their artistic goals. She also shares stories of her own success, telling fans about her year spent in Taiwan. By reducing the cost of living drastically, Iris was eventually able to spend seven days a week painting. Social media has been a huge catalyst to Iris’s success. She places much importance on sharing through social media, and having pages specifically dedicated to art.


How long do Iris's paintings take to complete?

Iris's smaller paintings can be completed in a single day with frantic, rapid-fire finger painting inside 15 straight hours. Her larger pieces are more calculated, careful and tight, taking up to a week or more to complete. Iris's goal is to be able to paint her larger pieces rapidly, while still achieving what she sets out to compose.


Does Iris teach classes?

Iris used to teach classes, but has become too busy to continue teaching. She has a book available called Finger Painting Weekend Workshop, and a free video on her website. She is now writing a three-part book for drawing, painting and marketing that will be available in 2018.


Does Iris paint commissions for people?

Iris also used to paint commissions, but stopped accepting in 2017 custom work due to the number of scheduled works accepted in 2016. Iris may in the future begin again, but there is currently no room on her schedule. 


What is Iris's creative process?

Iris's creative process takes place in a third floor corner unit loft studio in the middle of Brooklyn. She paints barefoot, with 120 oil colors at arms length, music blaring, and her cat Foxy at her feet or on her lap as she works. On painting days Iris wakes up early and works straight until bed time, often ordering food in so that she doesn't have to pause to cook and clean. The process can be exhausting but thrilling, so she doesn't paint every day. Iris describes art as just a lifestyle, not something compartmentalized as "work time" since she basically spends almost all her time - and dream time - thinking about  painting. Her creative process is simply her life. Wherever she goes, near or far, become a new opportunity to plan new pieces. Iris moved to New York in 2014 so that she could have close access to the best art museums, and recently she is able to afford traveling the world several times a year to visit additional museums and artworks in far away lands. She is constantly in a state of careful observance of masterpieces, both in person and online. From the Masters Iris absorbs as many details as she can and apply them to the conglomerate of tricks that is becoming her artistic style. 


What is Instinctualism?

Instinctualism, which started in New York, is a fine art movement championed by artists, including Iris, that make art that connects with their inner childhood instincts about color and subject. These paintings are not catered to popular home decor. When you go to an art museum next time, look for what draws the crowds regardless of how many decades or centuries ago the artist lived. In an Art World that favors minimalistic black square paintings hung alongside minimalistic furniture, Instinctualism is about art that resonates with something almost psychedelic. The style taps into another layer of the mind, impervious to fashionable design trends. Fans of this style are all ages, of all cultural backgrounds, and certainly of all socio-econimic levels. Instinctualist paintings are keenly imagery-focused, rather than explanation-oriented, which effectively bridges all languages because artists are not forced to explain what their work is about. In many ways Instinctualism echoes the post-Impressionists palette of abundant colors and themes. Celebrating affordable prints rather than using a scarcity model of selling, Instinctualists are happy to offer both affordable prints as well as high priced originals. These artists want to connect with the masses rather than alienate the masses, which is in stark contrast to the prevalent marketing ploys of the past 70 years. Van Gogh would easily fall into this category of style. Instictualist painters appeal to the economical print buyer as well as the wealthiest collectors of original art. When Iris visits a museum, she typically is looking for which masterpieces blow her back visually. Having experimented with psychedelic mushrooms and LSD, Iris finds theories about consciousness fascinating, and strives to pull those lessons into her work. Iris makes note however that a sober chaperone is essential when using plant hallucinogens, as these psychedelic trips can be quite frightening. Iris believes that the art of our near future will not be limited to art galleries and the elites, the Internet's effect on art will democratize the way art is enjoyed. Instinctualism may be that movement. 


Has Iris considered experimenting with other techniques in the future?

Iris has certainly considered venturing out of finger painting in the future, but right now she is far too obsessed with continuing to see what finger painting can do.


What has been Iris's most difficult/technical painting and why?

Iris's most difficult painting technically so far has been the giant canvases in the 100 inch wide range. It's really hard to see what she's doing at that scale. But Iris has recently invented a rolling platform that floats above the canvas as it sits on the floor so she can access the center of the canvas without stepping on it. Gravity was once her enemy, now, thanks to this platform, gravity is her new ally.