1. Firstly, please introduce yourself and tell us a little about where you are based, for example in which country and part of that country? Hi! I’m McKella, a US artist living in the state of Utah, right at the base of the lovely Rocky Mountains, which are currently modelling their lovely fall colors. I love to paint with acrylics and mixed media, and I usually paint trees, suns and moons, and silhouetted figures, especially dancers. I can’t dance my way out of a wet paper bag, so I live out that fantasy through my art I suppose.
2. Please tell us a little about the nature of your art based business. Understanding ourselves and our own purpose is one of the most important things we can do in this life. Creating my art has enriched my own soul work, and people feel something when they look at it. I want my work to inspire people to look within and appreciate their journey. I paint my internal journeys, triumphs, and struggles so others can others can see and understand their own because I think we’re all visual thinkers, so sometimes seeing a powerful image can help us grasp a concept as abstract as the soul.
More than anything, I want my art to be a positive force in this world, something people can look at and feel joy. When I create something beautiful and inspiring, I feel little bubbles of joy rocketing my whole body, like every bit of me is glowing. I want others to feel that too.
I’d never painted on large canvas before, but I bought a couple and churned out five paintings in two weeks! I’d never painted in that style before, but something just clicked, and I knew I’d started creating the art I was born to make.
4. How long now have you been established? I’ve been selling my art on the side for about two years now on Etsy and in my community, but now I’m starting to build my business into something I can do full-time in the future. I’m working on my grown-up website and learning the ropes of business. This is a whole new adventure for this right-brained artist!
5. How do you find inspiration and decide what to paint? Sometimes I find inspiration and sometimes it finds me! I get ideas from whatever I’m going through at the time, and I find a beautiful way to represent it visually with my own personal symbolism of trees, color, figures, and shapes. I usually only sketch a quick thumbnail of my ideas to see if the composition works, and then I start on the canvas. I usually change my mind halfway through and end up with something completely different from what I’d planned, but I’m almost always happy with the result. I’m also inspired by stories I read, the seasons, colors, and the Utah valley landscape around me.
6. Do you undertake your business on a full-time basis or do you have other work/family commitments? Right now I work a full-time job to help pay the bills while my husband completes his degree. We don’t have kids yet, but I do have commitments with my church, and I make sure to spend time with my husband, family, and friends. I stay busy!
7. Tell us a little about your typical day. I have to move first thing in the morning, or I feel like a banana slug the rest of the day! I try to go for a walk or even just hula hoop for a few minutes before I go to work. I ALWAYS keep my journal on my desk to record any ideas that drop into my head during the day. During the evenings I paint, write blog posts, spend time with my husband, eat a ridiculous amount of chocolate, and learn everything I can about running a creative business.
8. What advice would you give to others who are considering running a creative business? Let people know you exist, and let them know Who You Are. My first several sales were to people I know personally, which at first felt like it didn’t count. But then I realized that they brought from me because they A) know I exist, and B) know me and what I’m about. It totally makes sense! Isn’t art even more appealing when you know about the story and soul behind it?Be completely yourself and offer what you have without regard to how it’s received. Some people won’t like it, and that’s fine. But that is the only way to connect with Your People, the ones who love who you are and what you do. Your People will never notice you if you hide. This is actually one of the hardest things for me because I feel like I come off as a total wackadoodle, but that’s fine. Some people dig my quirky blend of dry humor and soulfulness, and there are plenty people out there waiting for YOU as well!
10. Finally, if people want to learn more about your business/website do you have a web address, Facebook page or Twitter profile where they can find out more ? Yes! Come visit me at mckellasawyer.com where I write about creativity, joy, new work, and other stuff. My art is available on Etsy and you can follow me on Facebook to see what I’m working on, hear about special offers, and other shenanigans. I’m also on Pinterest, Twitter, and Instagram. Please see below for all my links: