We recently connected with Cade Kegerreis and have shared our conversation below.
Alright, Cade thanks for taking the time to share your stories and insights with us today. Are you able to earn a full-time living from your creative work? If so, can you walk us through your journey and how you made it happen?
I have been a full time artist for five years now, after graduating from Baylor University with a degree in Studio Art. In the beginning I took on any creative job that came my way- from photographing high school seniors, directing and filming music videos, commissioned paintings, and more. The wide variety of experience helped me network in all areas but also allowed me to naturally weed out what I was not truly passionate about. I learned that although I really enjoyed photo and video work, I could be most creative as a fine artist. Looking back, at the end of my college career I had fallen in love with oil painting, and that has prevailed. My biggest joy is being immersed in my studio with works I have going, either commissions or for myself. I am lucky to have now had two solo art shows at my local gallery in Waco, Texas, which truly allowed for me to develop my own series of ideas and bring them to life for an audience.
However, the large branch of my business and main source of income has come from painting murals. Working with larger businesses and corporations has brought the overhead money to support my more private art practice, and also introduced me to a much larger audience of viewers. Murals are collaborative to reach a goal the clients have, and that has been very rewarding.
The last few years have been a true trial and error process of seeing what works for my business and community. I did not have any prior business, marketing, or accounting education/experience- that would have saved me from many lessons learned the hard way, but the personal experience was a great teacher for firsthand learning of how to shape my business and process.
As always, we appreciate you sharing your insights and we’ve got a few more questions for you, but before we get to all of that can you take a minute to introduce yourself and give our readers some of your back background and context?
For as long as I can remember I have loved the act of creation. My dad is a master woodworker that has recently gotten his spotlight through the many shows of Magnolia’s “Fixer Upper” – he is referred to as Marvin, the cabinet guy that can do it all! My mom is also very creative at heart. Both supported my dreams of being an artist from an early age and I know that had a massive role in allowing me to develop my skills further and continue chasing that life.
I currently specialize in mural painting, and fine art works (usually mostly oil, but often experiment with merging many mediums such as magazine collage, spray paint, acrylics, etc.). I try my best to get in the mind of my clients to figure out what they want to say visually, why they want to say it, and how I can best represent those ideas and motives through various styles and application. I have always been my biggest critic and believe that the quality of my work sets me apart from others. When it comes to murals specifically, I envision that the work will be around for 100 years, and with that I try to make every project better than my last- to both withstand the test of time, but also be relevant for years to come.
I have created murals with prominent brands and companies such as Hello Bello, Dr. Pepper Museum, Texas Sports Hall of Fame, and Baylor University. I am most proud of making my mark with those that saw the potential I had, and leaving each project with happy clients.
My company Devolved (aka DVLVD) developed after my first solo art show: “Devolved: Evolution through Unity, Diversity, and Connection.” This body of work focused on education through visual paintings. It highlighted topics such as religion, culture and society, aiming to draw the connection among all people to unite and empower by showing historical timelines as diverse but intertwined. The true goal of my company is to continue this in the future with branches of education through art.
Do you think there is something that non-creatives might struggle to understand about your journey as a creative? Maybe you can shed some light?
As an artist often creating for others, there is usually a disconnect on expectations of timing and worth. Each project is going to be different from the last. Even with an experienced and tested process, the artist is starting from nothing every time. The act of creation takes a lot of brain power and energy, though many non-creatives assume the ideas are like a flowing faucet that can simply be turned on and off. For creatives that are full-time as myself, it is necessary to be paid for those ideas and skills. Many clients look for free designs or ideas because that is what creatives are good at; that is where myself, and many others struggle to make consistent income. As a creative if you are fully pouring yourself into each opportunity, it sometimes feels that you are selling pieces of yourself, and when others struggle to see the monetary worth in that it can be exhausting and vulnerable. My biggest tip to non-creatives looking to hire a creative for work– if you believe in what this artist can do and have seen what they have done, put your trust in them and they will not let you down! Being an artist is a lifestyle, and the more freedom that is given often translates to the most fulfilling and best work.
How can we best help foster a strong, supportive environment for artists and creatives?
There is a known level of art that is supported by the top level of buyers- often works at auction houses by dead artists that exchange hands for millions of dollars. If more focus was put on supporting living artists, there would be a more fruitful experience for all involved, especially the creator and the buyer. The phrase “starving artist” is still a prevalent thought by many that degrades the work full-time creatives do. Emerging and established artists deserve the attention that the top percent often overlooks.
- Website: www.cadekeg.com / www.dvlvd.com
- Instagram: @cadekeg
- Youtube: www.youtube.com/user/cadekegerreis