We recently connected with Alexandra Schmeling and have shared our conversation below.
Alright, Alexandra thanks for taking the time to share your stories and insights with us today. We’d love to hear about when you first realized that you wanted to pursue a creative path professionally.
During the pandemic, I started doing watercolor pet portraits for local animal shelters. People would donate money to the shelter and in return I would paint them a custom pet portrait. I did hundreds of portraits this way and raised over $10k, but I thought that was where it stopped. After the fundraisers were over, I kept getting approached to do more watercolors. At first I declined but eventually I realized that I had to keep going with my art, and starting a business was the way for me to keep doing that. I think I had wanted to do it for a long time but was being held back by fear–fear of having to figure out business licenses and tax stuff, and fear of disappointing customers (I’m a recovering people pleaser). I’m not a religious person, but I heard someone say, When you arrive at the pearly gates, make sure you’ve used every talent that God gave you to its fullest. And that really resonated with them. I had been hiding my light for a while and letting it go dormant and suddenly that didn’t sit right with me anymore. Having my business has allowed me to share my art with people like I never thought I would be able to do and it makes me feel like I’ve found my purpose.
Great, appreciate you sharing that with us. Before we ask you to share more of your insights, can you take a moment to introduce yourself and how you got to where you are today to our readers
My name is Alexandra Schmeling and I am the owner of Alexandra Schmeling Fine Art. I am a watercolor painter specializing in pet portraits. When not doing commissioned work, I love to paint landscapes and architectural scenes. My trademark is a smaller, detailed scene of something man-made, usually older or historic, paired with natural beauty. I love exploring collage and 3-D watercolors. My absolute favorite subject is France. I am spending two months in France this spring/summer doing an artist residency at Chateau Orquevaux and traveling around the country in search of inspiration!
Alright – so here’s a fun one. What do you think about NFTs?
I think every artist needs to make the right choice for themselves and their business, but personally I am not interested in NFTs at this time. For me, art is still very much a physical thing. When I purchase art, it is because it makes me feel a certain way or conjures up certain emotions. I am choosing to physically live with it in my space because I want it to be a part of my life. Part of my joy as an artist is meeting people who connect with my art in a similar way and want it to be a part of their homes and thus a part of their lives. This is something so magical I don’t think can happen with NFTs.
We’d love to hear the story of how you built up your social media audience?
This is very much still a work in progress for me (I have yet to break 2k followers as of now) but my advice for anyone starting is to collaborate with others. I’ve gotten a lot of traction when larger accounts than mine with a devoted following share my work, either through a giveaway, fundraiser, or something else. Seek out accounts that share characteristics to yours, especially those local. Don’t be afraid to send DMs–a lot of people won’t respond, but others will be excited to support an artist and share something beautiful with their followers.