At the age of 26 (in 1999), I started a business, without any funding, making artwork for various clients, both residentially and commercially, which includes commissioned paintings, portraits, large and small scale murals, and decorative finishes.I also have gallery representation on both coasts where I exhibit my nationally recognized paintings in which I explore my philosophies, dreams, social commentary and studies of humanity.
What inspired you to start your business?
When I was 19 years old, I was directionless,but then I discovered the world of art and I told myself from this day forward, making art would be my identity, would be what I do.It is my passion and I wanted to share it with others.
I wanted to live a life without regret and I didn't want to fall into the typical trappings that society offers.
I discovered that I had a skill of creating visual images and, with my traditional fine art background, sought to bring this to the public.I realized that there was a need, even if pretty small, for an artist to wield their skills for clients.Taking on any project I could get my hands on:murals on the sides of buildings, commissioned portraits, restoration, decorative paint finishes and so on and so on. In the beginning, I tackled tasks where I had no clue what I was doing, but had to figure it out along the way, always making sure the end result would be what was desired. Project after project, I slowly built my reputation and business into what it is today.I didn't cut corners, I honed my skills by using various media and in various locations. I am lucky, I truly love what I do.
What is something you would say to someone who is struggling in their first few years of business? Is there something you struggled with and learned from in those first few years?
I would say, in the end, if you believe in yourself and are truly passionate about what you do, you will be successful. Even I, after 20 years in business, have my struggles and can get frustrated. But I always try to reflect on how far I've come to get here.
For new business owners, keep plugging along. It's all about baby steps. Build solid relationships with your clients and distributors. Be honest.
Most entrepreneurs can have a few good years, but the true test is having 30 or 40 years. This can only happen by building good relationships.
What hobbies, causes, or activities are you passionate about aside from your work?
Teaching. Even though it's related to my work, I am passionate about teaching art. I have taught at the high school and college level for many years, but now I'm teaching traditional art making techniques to older, retired women. Women of this era were abandoned, when it comes to art, and it is a passion of mine to teach them the methods of the masters, like drawing from sculptures, oil painting techniques and creating painted reproductions of master works.
All in all, I am passionate about art and love to spread the knowledge as best as I can.