LeftyArt is an art studio created and run by artist, Heather Oetzel. Here is her story.
My parents thought they were done after four children, but I had other plans. I was born on New Year’s Eve to a pastor and his wife in Wisconsin. While I was a child, I was most heavily influenced by my older siblings and their interests.
My eldest sister was at first disappointed that I wasn’t a boy, but she quickly changed her mind and started claiming me as her own to strangers. She is 12 years my senior, and by the time she was in high school she had included me in numerous art projects of her own. I think that was her way of getting me to venture out of my shell. Her artistic style was heavily influenced by themes and patterns from other cultures. When she left for college I was naturally dejected, but the artistic influences then fell to my brother. He is closest to me in age. Like most boys, he enjoyed cartoons and comic books which influenced his, and in turn my own, drawing styles.
The main source of influence over my style, I believe, can be found in these two early experiences with my siblings. The work I do now reflects the influences of the crisp edge, anatomy-driven style of comic books and tattoo art, combined with the cultural arts of symbols of multiple cultures. The method of relief printing has afforded me the crisp line work I desired, which I use to explore cultural belief systems around the theme of death. I believe that my need to study bones and death culture through visual art, stems from a very early fear of death itself. Growing up in a religious household meant very early conversations about the end of life, or beginning of the afterlife, depending on how you look at it.
My vision for my work is to create pieces that appeal deeply and emotionally to people who struggle, at any point in life, while showcasing the integrity of the skills that I have developed over several years.