Tell us a little about yourself, shop or selling venues.
My name is Yana Hamlett, I currently live near Dallas, TX with my husband and our cat
Aoife (pronounces /I:fa/). My store on Etsy is called OneClosetCat because of Aoife:
when we first brought her home from the shelter, she was hiding from everyone and
everything in the world in the closet. (What a great place to shut the doors and put
borders between you and everything that bothers you!)
Aoife is very strange cat, she’s got only one eye and interesting character – she is really
talkative. In fact, she’d talk to you even if you don’t want it.
I like thinking that she brings me luck. She’d lay on every canvas and sniff every brush
before I start painting.
The rule I developed over the years is to never paint in bad mood. I believe that whoever
looks at my works can feel what I felt while painting and that this energy remains
somewhere between the layers of paint for years. When I work it’s always joy and
What are some things that bring you joy or inspire you?
I used to live by the sea somewhere between Europe and Asia for years. It just seemed so
natural to have it ten minutes away. Without us realizing it, the sea used to be in every
part of our lives.
When I moved to Texas, I felt like a huge part of my soul was missing. It took a while to
understand why. Sometimes when I drive around, at the back of my mind I have this
feeling that behind the next hill I will see the shoreline.
“Everything coastal” is my biggest inspiration. Water, gulls, shells, sand, you name it. I
love painting children by the water, probably because they remind me of myself being
there at that age.
Do you work outside the home, or are you self employed?
After I moved to the US, I couldn’t return back to Air Traffic Control where I used to
work for eight years, so yes, I am self employed now.
How long have you been creating, and why did you begin?
I have always been painting but after high school it felt logical to turn to my second
biggest passion, aviation. Once I got into it, I never had time to paint anymore. There has
been a gap of ten years before I picked up a brush again.
My art literally saved me. After the first three or four months in the US I started feeling
that I was loosing the ground under my feet without my job, family, friends… and the sea
around the corner.
It took several months to get back on track and find the right kind of media to paint with.
Ironically, when I was young it was impossible to buy oil paints anywhere around. Now it
feels like I finally found what I was missing for years.
What are some of your favorites (websites, materials, foods, books, other people’s work,
I absolutelylove children’s books! Can spend hours in a store just browsing throw them.
To my mind, artists who draw for children have this unique charisma and good-humored
attitude most of which you can only see as an adult.
“Alice in Wonderland” by Lewis Carroll has been my favorite since the age of five.
Feel-good movies like French “Amelie” is something that brightens my life. I try to never
watch anything negative. No horror movies in this house! Although art is supposed to
show all sides of life, I prefer the positive side of it and surround myself with beautiful
Where do you live, and do you hope to live elsewhere?
My husband and I are natural travelers and need a little to take to every trip. We’d go
anywhere anytime when we have a chance. In fact, we are planning on living on a
sailboat for a few years sailing around the globe. I hope it means more ocean paintings
I love Europe, particularly the UK. Once I visited it for the first time, I left my heart there
and I keep coming back “to recharge my batteries” when it calls for me. Old Britain has
this very unique spirit, you know, that makes me feel… well, at home.
From each new country we go to we bring a little toy bear with us. Our first bear is called
Collin and he comes from Prague, the Czech Republic, where my husband and I first met.
What are some of your short term and long term goals overall.
My short term goal is to finally get things together and print a set of postcards after my
“Memories of Florida” series of paintings.
The long term goal is to write and illustrate a book for children. I know what it’s going to
be about, I know how it should look, yet I am waiting for this Mr Right Moment, a spark
which will make things going.
What is your most treasured possession, and why?
My old diaries and notes, I believe. I have several notepads saved from when I was a kid
together with some later ones. They keep me connected to the happiest moments in my
past, my family and my childhood.