A matter of Pride: Artist Q&A with DollyPopMoods



by John Angelo

How it started: Courtney Love by Ellie Swiezynski

Drawing and painting portraits all started fittingly enough with one of Courtney Love in 1995 for Ellie Swiezynski, as she and her spouse Melissa LeClerc are big concert fans. Her early shaded pencil work has given way to vibrant acrylics on wood. Swiezynski will be displaying her work in the Pride vendor area in Veteran’s Park on June 15, the day of Manchester’s Pride parade.

Q: Where do your ideas come from?

A: Just in my head. I see them in my head, draw them out and then paint them.

Q: How long have you been doing this?

A: For awhile. I went to college for a semester in 1995 and focused on art. The sketch of Courtney Love was my first serious attempt at a portrait.

Q: What is your business name?

A: dollypopmoods, all one word.

Q: You’ve just gotten into pet portraits. Is that something you’d like to do more of?

A: Yes. Melissa and I do dog rescue (through Hooksett’s Motley Mutts Dog Rescue), so it makes sense to do dog portraits.

Q: Are any of the people portraits based on people that you know, or are they all from your imagination?

A: They’re all from my head.

Q: How many portraits have you done?

A: Dogs or people?

Q: Both.

A: Dogs about 10. People maybe 75.

Q: How long does it take to do each portrait?

A: With drawing and then painting it takes a few hours. Dogs take longer as the colors take more thought and I try to create depth.

Q: What kinds of paints do you use?

A: Acrylics.

Q: Are the rouge cheeks like a trademark for you?

A: Yeah. All of my portraits have rouge cheeks, red to pink.

Q: What does Pride Month mean to you?

A: Equality, happiness, togetherness.

Q: Have you been to Manchester Pride before?

A: I have a few times, yes, not marching in the parade, but taking in what’s at the park. This will be my first year as a vendor.

Q: What are the portraits going to sell for?

A: Seven to ten dollars.

Q: Should people bring a picture of their pet if they want a pet portrait, or how should they go about getting a portrait done?

A:  I prefer to work onsite, so no pictures at this time.

Q: Where would you like your business to be a year from now?

A: I haven’t thought that far ahead, actually. I’m more in the Now. I’m excited about Pride and we’ll see how it goes. Family and friends have seen my work but this is my first public showing. I’m nervous but also happy and excited.

Q: Are you on social media?

A: I’m on Instagram at @dollypopmoodsig with 100 followers in my first three months.  I don’t have social media expansion plans at this time.