Carol and Roy Toepke
of Collections by Carol
When and how did you start making art?
That’s a tough one… when did we know or realize what we did, saw or decided to make was a piece of art?
When you brought home your first glue and salt christmas ornament?
Or your first finger painting?
Or did it take much longer before you considered what you made was art?
Well for us it was much later.
Carol started collecting images to start a business (something that would carry us into our senior years to keep us busy and active).
We started out three years later more or less selling to Our Wisconsin Magazine… then calendar companies.
The more people saw our work, the more they said we had a good eye, that we were artists.
I guess that is when we started entering our work at art competitions.
We sold our work at art markets.
We love creating images and practice making them every day.
We travel to find new and interesting sites, scenes, animals, birds, national parks or wherever our imagination takes us.
We watch the weather, the time of day and what presents itself in our travels.
We love shooting the Northern Lights and the Milky Way… it challenges us to find the perfect location and see something special in it… maybe at the right time of day… say at sunrise at the Cholla Cactus Garden at Joshua Tree National Park.
What inspires your work?
Anything in nature or outdoors calls us to explore, to hunt for, to find, to record and to share.
How would you describe Green Bay/NE Wisconsin’s arts community?
I would describe the Green Bay and NE Wisconsin’s Arts Community as: active, vital, experiencial, widespread and appreciated.
Each time we exhibit we meet new people, and they ask a lot of questions.
They want to know more.
They are interested in the how, and the why, or perhaps the where.
And that’s important to encourage them to get out and experience it, the world for themselves.
What is the best advice you have for other artists?
Just do it! Step out of your comfort zone and do your first show, whether it be at a farmers’ market or at a juried exhibit.
You will be uncomfortable at first.
And you need to put on your happy face and make it through some mud slinging sometimes… but not doing it keeps you stagnate, you only grow and learn by doing.
Where can people find your work?
The Art Garage in Green Bay; The Artless Bastard in DePere; Langdon Divers Gallery, Thelma Saddoff Center for the Arts and Gallery and Frame in Fond du Lac; Art Dose Magazine, Our Wisconsin Magazine, Richardson Gallery in Appleton, Riverfront Gallery in Stevens Point, Evergreen Retirement Community in Oshkosh.
We also enter a ton of online competitions or ONLINE: collectionsbycarol.com, carol-toepke.pixels.com