Saturday, September 6, 2008

Meet the Ladies Who Are Changing the Face of Business - The PopArt Diva!

I'm starting a new project and I'm so excited! I have met so many wonderful women who have been instrumental in helping achieve all that I have. Now I want you to meet them too! So, I am interviewing each of them and each week I will share an interview with you. Prepare to meet some of the most talented, dynamic, and successful women entrepreneurs. Take notes - because what they will teach you can change your life!

PopArt Diva, The Martini Diva, The Diva of Tiny Foods, The Brat in the Hat, The Normal Challenged Artist. What? Am I interviewing several guests this week? Nope! These are just the many personifications of my friend Terri Dennis. Terri and I met when we both became members of Boomer Diva Nation. This is a prime example of networking in action because not only has Ms. PopArt become my friend, she has been a great influence and mentor on some upcoming projects - not to mention the fact that she has taught me to make a killer martini and appetizers to die for! And through our relationship she has gained a new client. Travelin' Bob has hired her to do a Pop Art of him. I know once you read her interview, you will admire her as much as I do. So without further ado, I present THE POPART DIVA!!

1. Just who is PopArt Diva?
I am a Normal Challenged artist with a passion for my art, pop culture, tiny foods (what I call appetizers) and designer martinis! My interest in art began early in life. Growing up in Kansas I was never without a crayon in my hand. From grade school through college my main emphasis was on being an artist. I worked in the commercial market for nearly fifteen years as an illustrator and designer for publishers, advertising agencies and corporate marketing agencies. In 1981 I started participating in fine art shows where I exhibited and sold my original art at fine art shows and to galleries throughout the United States and abroad. In the mid 1990's I installed my first graphics software and discovered a whole new excitement in creating art digitally. Currently I apply my computer graphics skills to creating graphic design and animation for print media and the web for myself and a few select clients and Fine Art Digital Images for my own art publishing business. Being an artist is not just what I do, it's what I am. My art defines me and my life. It's my job, my vocation, my avocation and my passion. I cannot imagine my world without the creativity that drives me. Every morning I have a reason to get up and that's the biggest blessing one can receive.

2. Why Pop Culture art?
I was born during the baby boom and much of my childhood became the pop culture of America. Family vacations were taken on Route 66 in our classic '55 Chevy where we stopped at roadside diners that are now part of the past. I grew up watching television classics like "I Love Lucy", going to drive-in moves and listening to the icons of Rock and Roll. I was in the Peanut Gallery on Howdy Doody! My teens were the time of Woman's Lib, the Peace Movement, Viet Nam, Nixon, the Cold War, the Moon Landing, Pop Psychology, Mini Skirts and Motown. I bought 45's of the Beatles, Rolling Stones, the Grateful Dead, ironed my hair and wore bell bottoms. American Graffiti was my childhood, Peter Pan was my dream, Platoon was my reality and Haight Ashbury was my hope. Now decades later I find myself going home again in the only way I know how - through my art, my writing and food!

3. What's with your obsession for martinis?
I love martini glasses! Elegant, sophisticated, graceful and sassy, they were the ultimate in posh to me. However, I never liked classic martinis! One day I heard of an Apple Martini and I grew fascinated. There was something I could drink in a martini glass that wasn't basically just vodka or gin? Show me! Tell Me! Let me enjoy the drink as much as the glass it is presented in! From that point it grew into finding new recipes to drink, to creating new recipes to drink and then to creating a blog and now a website and videos to share my recipes with the world! Thus, The Martini Diva, was born. And I can write off my booze now, thank you Mr. Taxman.

4. Tell us about your business.
I create retro inspired pop culture art as fine art giclees on canvas and images for licensing at These images are also available as an assortment of merchandise for sale at my CafePress store - The PopArtDiva Boutique and other online stores. I also do some graphic design for a few select clients on occasion. I create or recreate recipes, how to videos and fun graphic recipe cards for designer martinis at as well as at I host a retro pop culture talk radio show at Blog Talk Radio called "Trippin' Down Memory Lane". I am currently formatting a book on my martini recipes and recipe cards for sale online. I am working on developing and getting funding for a line of products for The Martini Diva brand.

5. Why did you start your own business?
I started my first business as a graphic designer in 1976 - Graphica Studios. It is still operational today. I started publishing fine art for sale in 1980 and continue to this day. I went live with last October and continue to build that brand online.

6. What do you like most and least about being your own boss?
I like not having to go to someone else's office, I like my boss (gee, ya think?) - even though my boss is type A and makes me work all the time, lol. I like the fact that I am not subject to the whims of inferior superiors, lackluster co-workers or corporate idiocy. I dislike not knowing exactly how much money is coming in.

7. What personality traits and skills are needed to run a business?
Here are the primary skills and personality traits that are necessary to run a successful business, in order:
Be passionate about your work.
Be honest, be diligent and do what you say you are going to do.
Be dedicated and a self-starter.
Be willing to work all the time.
Be willing to sacrifice a large part of your personal life.
Be organized - if you're not, then learn!
Have a least a rudimentary business knowledge including accounting, legal, costing, time management, etcetera.
Be able to prioritize and delegate where you can.
Be personable - you have to like people to do business with them!
Be on time!
Be original.
Be yourself.
8. What has been the most difficult part of being an entrepreneur?

Gaining the understanding of those who work a standard nine to five job.
Dealing with the vagaries of a trickle down and out economy!

9. Do you have any resources you have used to build your business that you would recommend?
I network with several groups but I narrow these down to those that a) are beneficial to my business plan or b) I enjoy on a personal level. Why? Because you can spend all day "networking" and not getting any business benefit from it if you aren't aware of your time.
I do all my own web design, web graphics and promoting at this time. I taught myself html, various web design wysiwygs, photoshop, video editing software, audio editing software and every other part of the web - there are great free resources in how to learn html and css code online, just google them with the added keyword "tutorials".
When I went to college computers were still the size of Mack trucks! I didn't even get my first computer until 1996! And frankly, when I looked into classes to learn how to do an internet business they were way behind my knowledge and the times!

10. Do you have any tips to share on promoting your business?
I do not spend any money on marketing or promotion. Frankly, I don't have the budget for effective advertising - few do. I have a plan for promoting via public relations, which I find more effective than paid advertising.
I promote myself by social networking, keeping the top five high on my list for updating and fresh content. You can google to find the top five or ten social network sites - though MySpace and YouTube always rank in the top five. I comment on high ranking sites that are pertinent to my niches, I do some posting to forums (thought not as much as I would like due to time constraints).
I also watch my ranking for my keywords, play around with SEO on my websites, and keep adding content - content is King to the search engines! I do not panic over my Google page rank, I just make sure I'm in the top five for my keywords and phrases.
I make sure every e-mail, post or comment I make has a link back to a relevant site of mine. I link every piece of art I post to it's sales page, I hand out business cards with my websites - I even put one of my martini recipes on the back of The Martini Diva cards!
I give away free art, free recipes and recipe cards, tutorials, information and free stuff - web visitors like free stuff - free stuff brings in traffic, though remember it's not necessarily traffic that will bring in revenue!

11. What other advice do you have for someone starting their own business?

Be prepared to work hard, work long hours, and be prepared to take it on the chin, brush yourself off and start all over again!

12. How can we contact you about your products and services?
Links to all my websites, blogs, my main online store are below:
Pop Art Diva™, tripping down Memory Lane as The Pop Culture Diva, dressing up humans and houses at The Pop Art Diva Boutique, partying down as The MARTINI DIVA™>, playing foodie at The DIVA of TINY FOODS™, happily doodling at Life is Like Art, helping artists at The Normal Challenged Artist, being DIVA at The Road to Diva-Visit Divaville and ranting as a Grumpy Old Woman at The BRAT in the HAT™!>

I will be happy to offer Melodieann's readers a 20% discount on my graphics services, 20% off a personal pop art package or 20% off any of my fine art giclees at if ordered directly through me and not off my website.
To receive this discount you must contact me directly at: with your contact information - phone number and e-mail address so I can contact you to assure your discount.

13. Is there anything else you would like to share?

I've made it sound like owning your own business is a 24/7 venture - and it often is! However, if you love the business you are creating it will not be like a job! You will get up every morning (well, almost, lol) just itching to start that new project, upload that new website, post that new blog.
My love and passion for my work has been a lifesaver for me many times over in the course of nearly 30 years of being my own boss. When all else around me was crashing at my feet, when I lost my family one by one, my work was always there to give me a reason to get up and go on with my life!
And having some cute puppies, kitties and other little pets is a big help too! (Kisses to my Pixel!)

Thank you, thank you very much, PopArtDiva has left the building!


Donna Cutting said...

Thanks for this interview Melodieann! I'm fast becoming a POP Art Diva fan, and it's good to get to know her a little better via your post.

Betty Lynch said...

Loved getting to know Pop Art Diva. Thank you!



PopArtDiva said...

Melodieann - Thank you so much for this beautiful promotion of me and my online enterprises!

You are a Diva of Distinction and Style - and you have a cute dog!

Anonymous said...

Melodieann and Pop Art Diva,

A cooperative interview that was a match made in Heaven!

Great job to both of you.

Have a great week,


Bobbi Jo Woods said...

Great interview.

Just reading it brought all the colorful images to my mind of icons and pop culture things past and present.

PS - Vietnam is one word.

Joyce Mason said...

Melodieann, what a great blog and interview of Terri. Her energy just pops off the page, pun intended. Thanks for providing this great vehicle for getting to know her--and you.

All best,

Mitchell Allen said...

I enjoyed learning about the Pop Art Diva!
I suppose you followed the rule: always leave them wanting more.

Such as, why the Brat in the Hat?

You asked great questions, and Ms. Diva gave great responses!



BethBentley said...

WOW, this was very good..Love the networking information. I find myself networking a lot and it is paying off a little, but..I feel like I am ALWAYS on the net. the top 10...Thanks for sharing and Art and martinis....can't go wrong there. I wish you lost of success!!

Beverly said...

"Changing the face of business" Yes---she certainly is! Very nice profile.