So far this blog has been all about me but that seems completely pointless in my opinion. Today I’m super excited to share the first post in what I hope to be an ongoing series about small businesses, (more specifically artists) whom have made their talent into a business. My hope for this blog is that it inspires, teaches and shares the challenges of having a business and being an artist. I can tell you over and over again the challenges I face (and I have) but I think it is super valuable to hear it from other people. So, I would like to introduce you to my friend Rebecca from Rebecca Allen Art. I was introduced to her Instagram by another artist friend of mine and I was immediately inspired by her work and positive radiance. Her work is true expression of what it means to be an artist and reminds me what a blessing it is to be able to create beautiful things. She primarily works in watercolor and creates gorgeous, bold abstract patterns that make you feel something (which in my opinion is what art is all about). This is such a treat for me to be sharing her work here. I hope you enjoy and if you are an artist and would like to be featured or know of any artists that you would like to see featured, please let me know at email@example.com.
Where are you based: Houston, Texas
Company name/Shop title: Rebecca Allen Art
How did you get your start as an artist?
I’ve always loved art. I fell in love with the whole idea of being an artist the first time I saw Van Gogh’s “Starry Night” when I was 7 years old. As I grew up, I just saw art as a separate passion, a hobby that I loved dearly, I never really envisioned I could also use it as a means to support myself. That was until I heard about Society6 and made the decision to launch a shop in 2012. From there, so many doors began to open for me!
I recently fell in love with watercolors. You can see a big change in my work, but before that, I mainly stuck to acrylic.
What has been the largest accomplishment of your art career?
Getting a piece into Urban Outfitters this year was probably one of my greatest artistic achievements. I have to attribute that success to DENY Designs. Most people don’t know this, but I applied to be one of DENY’s artist 5 times before they accepted me and what a blessing that relationship has been! They are a great company to partner with and really care about their artists. I am so thankful!
Where do you look for inspiration/what inspires you?
Such a great question. I am very taken with music and words. The Bible is a great source of inspiration for me, I love to read a passage and imagine how I could artistically interpret it. I also adore the sonnets of Milton, Shakespeare, Herbert, Donne. Whenever I hit a creative lull, I listen to “Liz on Top of the World,” from the Pride and Prejudice Soundtrack by Dario Marianelli, that always seems to do the trick. Painting with my little brother and sister has also proven to be a huge inspiration to my work. I am always amazed when I look at their messy adorable work because they attempt to combine colors, shapes, and patterns, I would never think to try and it looks beautiful! And let’s not forget the ever inspiring, ever delightful muse, coffee.
What is your favorite piece you’ve ever created?
I have two favorites. (Sorry!) “Some Enchanted Evening,” and “A Great Calm.”
What platform(s) do you sell your work on?
DENY Designs, Urban Outfitters, Society6, Casetify (formally Casetagram), Houzz, & Curioos.
DENY: DENY Designs sells primarily home goods. I mentioned this earlier, but they are so good to their artists and through DENY I have had so many other opportunities and doors open up (like Urban Outfitters!).
Urban Outfitters: It’s URBAN OUTFITTERS.
Society6: This is where it all started for me. Society6 is a neat place to sell and post your work because it is like a little community of artists where you can drawn inspiration from others and you are free to post whatever you like! It’s been so wonderful to be a part there.
Casetify: Casetify (formally Casetagram) sells quality phone cases. They allow you to customized your own cases or buy designer cases. They have also been so good to me as an artist. I was their “Casetagram Monday” feature a couple of weeks ago and that really helped me out as far as exposure and sales.
Houzz: Houzz is an online home goods seller. This is yet another awesome opportunity I got through DENY Designs.
Curioos: Curioos is an online digital art seller. They have graciously sold and promoted some of my favorite pieces.
What is the most challenging aspect of having an art business/some frustrations you have faced?
Getting your work and name out there is always the hardest part. I discussed this earlier, but I applied to be a part of DENY Designs five times! That was a lot of rejection, but I know it made me a better artist and a harder worker. I was fortunate to have a conversation with a very talented and established artist, Kent Youngstrom. Kent gave me this advice, he was discussing the unfortunate and often accurate picture most people have of artists, that they are difficult to work with, normally late, change their minds often, but that we need to change that. I believe he has a print of this, but something along the lines of, “Show up. Be on time. Surprise somebody.” We have to be hard workers and open to criticism. If you find yourself struggling to make it or get someone or some vendor to take on your work, don’t be discouraged! Keep trying, and also, maybe seek out someone who has been successful and ask for some feedback. I know that can be very difficult and discouraging but it will make you a better artist!
How would you describe your artistic style?
I feel like because I love so many different styles and types of art my work reflects that, and as a result, my “style” if you will, is all over the place. I’d probably do best to let you answer this one Katie!
Are you a full-time artist? If not, what else do you do?
Yes and no. I also work as a graphic designer for a wonderful marketing firm called, Beefy Marketing. And I tutor on the side.
What do you love about being an artist the most?
The freedom, flexibility, and surprises it allows. You get to do something you absolutely love and you never know where that will take you or who you will delight with your work.
Do you have any tips for people who are trying to turn their art hobby into a business?
Yes, keep trying and work hard! As I said earlier, don’t be discouraged by rejection. But at the same time, don’t get bitter but better. If a company or vendor rejects your work several times, know that you have to keep trying, but also, that you should always be open to critique. Make sure you have people in your life that are lovingly honest with you. My mom and my best friend have always been honest with me about my work and I go to them often to ask what they think, that has been a huge blessing to me!
Thank you so much for sharing Rebecca, you are such an inspiration!