Karen Grenfell aka MimiLove Forever

Ziggy's been out and about again scouting for creative people as he wants to find out all about who's behind the great work he's been looking about.  He's also delighted that these talented artists, designers and makers have taken the time to answer some questions.

This week Ziggy's pleased to introduce you to Karen and he wants to thank you so much for taking the time to answer these questions and wishes you lots of success and happiness in all your ventures and adventures!

Tell us a bit about yourself and how you got started?
I'm Karen Grenfell aka MimiLove Forever... at your service!

I have been painting and messing about with art since I was knee high to a spacehopper. After a spell at uni, various jobs and the advent of internet Mimilove was born! I had always provided a portrait service but it was mainly word of mouth etc that I gained clients so the internet opened up a whole new world for me and I started selling on ebay with a range of paintings mainly large portraits and abstracts for both individual and commercial clients.

In 2004 and 05 a selection of my work appeared at the Birmingham Nec as part of the Memorabilia UK show, it was here that several paintings were signed by celebrities including David Carridine and Britt Ekland. The sporting heroes World Cup winner Sir Geoff Hurst MBE and boxing legend Sir Henry Cooper OBE also signed pieces and the Henry Cooper painting was eventually sold at Sotheby's later that year!

Since then I have been involved with providing illustrations and artworks for various companies including Blast Recording Studio's in Newcastle and Surrey based Brand New Films.

A collaboration with promoter Steve Wraith and former Sex Pistol Glen Matlock helped to raise funds for children's charity The Bubble Foundation UK. I have also worked with former Scorpions keyboard player and prog rock musician John Young and grafitti/street artists Id iom

Over the past 2 years I have moved away from the large scale "pop art" pieces and have combined my love of embroidery with painting to produce mixed media works including a range of Cockney Sparrows and Budgie Stufferies and a unique pet portrait service which can be found around the globe from Alaska to Australia!

What item could you absolutely not live without as far as your work goes?
Apart from endless supply of tea and cake? My paint brushes...I've had some of them since I was 14...(they've aged better than I have) and I have a few fave colours on the paint front that I'd be lost without, but on the whole I'm pretty casual and will use whatever comes to hand, although I'm constantly losing things like rubbers, pencil sharpeners, general bit's of kit, so some sort of locator beacon would be useful.

Are you an early bird or a night owl worker?

Well I'm always up at the crack of sparrows but really just tend to getting cracking when the moods strikes, but once I'm in my stride I'll be at it 'til kitty and Mr.Mimi start muttering about feeding, sleeping etc!
This might be difficult to answer but, right now, who, at this very moment, is the one particular person who inspires you?
Oh now that's a toughy! It's so hard to say one particular person. This will probably sound soooo corny but I'd have to say my folks, they died quite young but they're in my thoughts every day and a constant source of inspiration in my work from their advice, humour and drawing on their experiences and memories. But I've met some fantastically talented folks out there from all fields, painting, textiles/stitching, street art/grafitti and so on, who are not only an inspiration but great friends too!

What do you love most about what you do?

All of it! I love the painting, it's where I'm most comfortable and you can't whack sloshing a bit of paint about! The stitching is the bit where I can sit quietly and really go for it on the details, it's the most time consuming part of the process, although that is partly because it takes me so long to thread a needle :)
And I've said it before but I do love the commission pieces; I cannot explain how much I enjoy working on these, gathering as much info as I can and then incorporating it all to make it extra special for the recipient.
If you didn't do what you do what else would you be?

Gawd knows! I've never really been a career gal; I've had loads of different jobs in the past from window dresser to art/craft tutor for adults with learning difficulties to graphic designer and even a shampooist in hair salon... (I've washed the hair of both Caprice and Justin Haywood..him out of the Moody Blues...bit of Mimilove trivia there! ;D ) So I guess i'd just go with whatever is thrown in my path but I'll always paint, it's just in the old ticker to do it

3 wise words to help new talent out there?
Tea! Cake! Nap!
I know people think I'm probably just a big lazy lump who spends most of her time shovelling down copious amounts of darjeeling and Mr.Kipling's in between snoozes...and they'd be right...but! Point I'm grasping to make is don't fret or panic if sales are slow in coming or beat yourself up if you're not spending every waking hour strapped to sewing machine/canvas etc. Sit back, relax and enjoy/love what you're doing and if it's starting to become a chore and you're losing heart step away from the stressiness and have a drop or two of something yummy....mind you I'm 2 slices away from a muumuu so don't take too much notice of my advice!
Any advice for Ziggy??

So advice for Ziggy... hmm?  Well maybe he should think about knocking the thumb sucking on the loaf cos he'll cream cracker his Hampstead Heath (let me know if you should need translation)   x ;)

Links to Karen :- 

Web - MimiLove