We’re excited to introduce you to the always interesting and insightful Heidi Schwartz . We hope you’ll enjoy our conversation with Heidi below.
Heidi , thanks for taking the time to share your stories with us today Can you tell us about a time that your work has been misunderstood? Why do you think it happened and did any interesting insights emerge from the experience?
The concept of being misunderstood is hard, just being a human wanting to be known and feeling like there’s a world of things that will never be seen by another, is probably one of the most compelling forces for me becoming an artist.
Ironically, it is the very thing I’ve had to embrace the most! Oh life, isn’t it a trickster!?
With maturity and time, I have gotten more comfortable with being misunderstood and underestimated. And I actually take it as a compliment now. Like some sort of guidepost that I’m on the right track because it is my vision that I am bringing to life, not theirs. And in that regard, it is what I have to contribute, and I now hold a place of gratitude and see it as a small form of service.
Two “fun” examples of being misunderstood;
Creating the creative business of Paint Your Event.
When I started building my business I was told things such as, “you will never be able to charge your prices” (when I already had been charging those prices for 2 years), and ” you should be an art teacher or go to design school to make a real living”.
Gotta adore how people love to give out unsolicited advice! (freakin pirates)
In the creation process of Paint Your Event:
At the beginning of live event, it is not uncommon for people to tell me “I could do that” or “ask me if I am an art student” or criticize my wild art set up.
I have even been yelled at for getting paint on my dress (which is part of my art performance). I remember a woman came up to me and said, “if you were my daughter, I would never let you paint in a dress!”
Funny enough, she asked for my card at the end of the night.
It all makes me smile now. And I think that it is part of the job of an artist, to ruffle some feathers. I mean, I am a painter that has a very free art style and I get paint on some pretty dresses, this is the most benign rebellion. I think it speaks to the perfectionism and expectations that people live under. I’m happy to play with this and give a visual example of wild acceptance if you will…
And for me, I have deeply learned that you can’t live on the compliments or the insults, you kind of have to ignore them both and focus on the doing. I give everything I have and that is all that anyone can ask. It’s a very surrendered place and that’s where I try to live.
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?
I am a live performance event painter and my business is called Paint Your Event.
I like to joke that I fell into this career “Forest Gump” style because I never expected to be painting IN FRONT of people for a living, but here I am.
I moved to Nashville for music only to become a painter…that’s like going to Germany for tacos… it’s HILARIOUS!
But in all seriousness, when I first moved to Nashville I found myself painting a lot alone in my room, it was a free exploration space, with no big expectations, just a release. I found I was really honest in my paintings and it helped me tap into a creative flow. I started writing poetry/ lyrics in my paintings which lead me to songwriting, which lead me to combine the two.
So there I was creating songs and combining my paintings to visually represent the emotion and lyrics, and out of that, I ended up creating an entire album of songs and paintings. My ADD had found a home!
Out of survival, I auditioned to sing on the showboat (insert jazz hands) for Nashville’s Opryland Hotel. The entertainment manager at the time saw my album paintings and recommended I paint live for a corporate dinner instead of singing (there’s no shortage of singers in Nashville).
And THAT became the detour that is now my life!
In my live painting, I capture many things to create a living art memento, like:
-Live event painting a wedding that is capturing the scene and happenings in real time
-A corporate event curating a live interactive art piece
-A sporting event capturing the team logo/mascot/crowd
-An awards dinner or appreciation event where they honor a particular person or organization with a piece
-A fundraiser gala where the beauty of the event and/or concept that is relevant to the cause is created (only to be auctioned off at the end of the night, double win).
All these pieces are created in my colorful traveling art studio I curate on-site for the live experience…. and oh yeah, part of the performance is I do this all while in high heels and in a ‘blank canvas dress’ that then becomes a painted dress! (The dresses can be auctioned for charity as well.)
The most fulfilling part of my job, besides it being my passion and just plain fun?
I have had clients tell me that if there was a fire in their home they would grab the pets and their painting. I don’t think there’s a bigger compliment an artist could receive. I love that these paintings not only entertain in the moment of creation but they tell a story, hold memory, evoke emotion and capture beauty. I’m very proud and humbled to do this work and connect with people on that evergreen level. It fills my heart’s cup.
Are there any books, videos or other content that you feel have meaningfully impacted your thinking?
There are two books that have made a huge impact on my journey and I always recommend to artists who want to make a career.
1) The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron.
The morning pages exercise in this book is something I still participate in to this day. It’s a beautiful way to get a mirror into your mind and also unlock ideas organically. Read and do the pages, you can thank me later…
2) Zen and the Art of Making a Living by Laurence G. Boldt.
This book is a beast of brilliance and the principles are timeless. It truly asks all the right questions to hone in on a starting place based in groundedness. It’s golden.
I’m a huge fan of anything and everything Tim Ferris. He is all about living by your own rules, thinking, and performing smarter. His podcast is a great place to start learning about his ecosystems.
Let’s talk about resilience next – do you have a story you can share with us?
I think real confidence is built, brick by brick.
And if it’s real, that groundwork can hold a whole hell of a lot. Once you prove to yourself that you can do certain things despite what other people think or believe about you… Then, no one can take it away.
One of the most formative experiences I’ve had was when I wasn’t accepted into Belmont University. I was admitted to the music school with a small scholarship but the university said, “nope, your grades aren’t great, baby.” (That wasn’t the official statement)
I remember calling Belmont and asking what it would take for me to get admitted. I was told I needed a full year of college with 3.5 or better grade point. I asked if I could get there by January if I did a full load of summer school and fall? I was told that would be too much because classes were condensed in the summer and doing a full year in that short of time just wasn’t feasible.
But I was OBSESSED with getting to Belmont. It was my ticket to my future in music (hahaha) and I HAD to get there ASAP!
So I started at a community college the week after I graduated from high school and that fall I remember needing a crazy amount of credit hours to reach my goal. The college wouldn’t let me take over 21 credit hours so I went to ANOTHER local college at the same time!
It. Was. Hell.
or should I say…
Hell. It. Was. (because I’m dyslexic and I didn’t know that until after college)
I found out 3 days before I moved to Nashville that I FREAKING GOT IN!
Of course, I didn’t stay long at Belmont.
But I got the most important lesson, I understood what I could do and I understood the horsepower I had under my hood.
- Website: https://www.paintyourevent.com/
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/paintyourevent/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/paintyourevent
- Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/heidimschwartz/
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/Paintyourevent
- Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/paintyourevent
- Other: Shop studio work, prints, paint dresses, and products at https://heidischwartz.com/
1st Photo by Heather LeRoy 4th Photo by Evin Photography The rest are mine.