We caught up with the brilliant and insightful 1a few weeks ago and have shared our conversation below.
Paul , thanks for joining us, excited to have you contributing your stories and insights. 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?
Within the last couple of years, post Covid, I have been able to earn a full time living from my work, I had been doing freelance commission work on the side of a non-artistic day job. Once Covid hit in 2020 my full time day job ended and I was , like so many other people at a bit of a cross roads for the future. Oddly enough it was in the same week that I was told my job was ending that I received several new print orders for my art on my Etsy shop. The Etsy shop had to really had any sales yet since I had set up at the end of 2019, After those first orders came through they were followed by more orders, several commissions for pet portraits as well as some more private commissions. It was like a sign that I was heading in the right direction. Since then I began a rather busy schedule of commission artwork, started participating in outdoor art markets in 2021 and embarked on a new website for my art work. Since that first step into art as full time career I have learned so much about how to structure my time and business. I almost wish I had spent even. more time during the lockdowns of 2020 creating even more art work and learning more of what I know now. But thinking back on it any of the mistakes and uncertainty I had in those earlier days were necessary to get me to where I am now.
Paul , love having you share your insights with us. Before we ask you more questions, maybe you can take a moment to introduce yourself to our readers who might have missed our earlier conversations?
I am a mixed media 2d visual artist. I work in traditional media (oil, acrylic and watercolor paint mostly) on canvas or paper. I work in a variety of styles that ranges from cartoon style art, illustration, abstract and realistic art. If you were to go to my website or Etsy shop you find prints of my work available. As of today I have 190 different art images of my work featured on my Etsy shop. If you were to meet me at an art show you would find the prints of my work, original watercolor bookmarks and a variety of original paintings in oil, acrylic or watercolor on canvas or paper. I take commissions throughout the year and they range in type. Commissions can vary and include abstract landscape work, watercolor pet portraits, some illustration work and realistic fully rendered portraiture. Clients of mine are able to have a broad range of type and style to choose from to find what best fits their artistic needs. I have done work for real estate and interior design clients and the flexibility in my styles and mediums mean I can provide them with many options to fit their needs. This versatility is what sets me apart from other artists because I don’t work in old one style or subject matter. One of the goals I have in the near future would be to do more illustration work. Possibly in illustrating children’s books.
What do you find most rewarding about being a creative?
The most rewarding aspect of being an artist is simply the act of putting into the world something that didn’t exist before I created it. Taking a pencil or a paint brush and creating a piece of art that someone can hold and cherish or give as a gift is uniquely rewarding. In a way it’s like a form of magic.
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?
I think for non-creatives it can look like an artist just suddenly woke up one day and was able to create a piece or pieces of art, When in actuality its a lot of time practicing, progressing, learning from other artists, taking more classes and producing a lot of work that is not great or even very good but is part of the learning process. The phrase “Practice Makes Perfect” is an incorrect statement. Practice makes progress. Perfection is unattainable and highly subjective. Many times the non artist sees the finished painting or art work but is not aware of the years of trial and error to get to that point, the design or other ideas that were tried and refined or discarded that go into that one piece of art. The best questions I get from non artists is asking what the journey was to get to a piece of art. There’s usually an interesting story there.
- Website: https://www.pauldownsartist.com
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/art_monkey16/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pauldownsartist
- Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/paul-downs-6062b235/
All images are credited to me, Paul Downs, as the artist