Alright – so today we’ve got the honor of introducing you to Sarah Zelinsky. We think you’ll enjoy our conversation, we’ve shared it below.
Sarah, appreciate you joining us today. Do you think folks should manage their own social media or hire a professional? What do you do?
My business, called Patio, is a painting and design studio where I manage all my own social media. It seems like social media is always changing and always needing more. I have been resistant to this in the past and feel the need to protect my process. Much of my education is in art therapy. I think coming from this background it’s natural to be protective of my art process. My urge is to keep my process to myself as a healing tool. This is something I’ve thought a lot about and go back and forth on. Right now I’m really trying to have more vulnerability personally and creatively. I think this reflects in my social media by showing more of my process. I’ve been working on the mindset of showing myself authentically and not trying too hard to manicure an image. I don’t want social media to be something that I think a lot about. I just want it to be me out there doing things I love and sharing with others.
Sarah, before we move on to more of these sorts of questions, can you take some time to bring our readers up to speed on you and what you do?
As far back as my memory goes I had an interest in creating and designing. When I was little I used to carry around a sketchbook everywhere and demanded my parents sign me up for art classes. I ended up studying art therapy up to a graduate level. I had put the time in and had every intention of pursuing a life connected to art in some way. It didn’t quite work out that way. I think the need for stability drove me to pursue a different path. I ended up working in the education field for years. Looking back, it’s a time where I feel like I turned my back on art. While the work in education was very secure and consistent, I just wasn’t feeling fulfilled at the end of the day. I was burnt out and had lost my passion. I knew something had to change. I started making time for art again. Immediately I felt like I wasn’t just running in a wheel anymore. I was working on something I wanted to build, something that was mine. After many, “I don’t know if I can do this” moments, I took the jump to leave my career. I got a job at a local art studio and continued growing my art practice. I’ve never really looked back since. I know I’m doing what I’m meant to do. My art is my career and it’s also my therapeutic practice. I paint large pieces on canvas and then I cut them up to create new pieces. The process really speaks to me. When I’m standing in front of a new piece, it’s not just a single work of art to me. It’s all these moments and all these stories that make up the piece. It’s all these parts that come together and create something whole, something that just feels right. Patio is about creating something for others that helps them feel this way. Commissions are my favorite part of the business because it lets me really connect with collectors. Each commission is a collaborative process. It is inspirational to me to learn the story of my collectors. I use their story to create something that they live with and enjoy each day. My hope is that my art gives each collector that moment in the day that just feels like they are right where they should be.
Learning and unlearning are both critical parts of growth – can you share a story of a time when you had to unlearn a lesson?
I would say, not as much unlearn but redefine. I had to redefine my definition of success. This started happening when I changed careers. I used to think I needed to be to a certain point or know a certain amount of information to be successful. I thought I had to just be “good” at what I do without much other thought surrounding it. I now feel successful by embracing what I don’t know. I want to ask questions and learn from others. I like to be curious about new strategies and techniques I haven’t tried. I’m intrigued by getting questions that I don’t know the answer to yet. This leaves me content in a space to ask questions and get information from others or explore an uncharted space on my own. Sometimes I get information from myself that I didn’t know was there. Patio is an ongoing project of learning and curiosity. There was a point where I would have been uneasy with this but today I think it might just be my favorite part.
What’s worked well for you in terms of a source for new clients?
Many of my clients have bought my prints locally and wanted to know more or get a custom piece. Other times it’s word of mouth or something they have seen on social media. However we meet, I’m always happy hear from new clients. Even if we don’t end up working together at that time. It always brings in a new viewpoint that adds to the growth of Patio. That’s my favorite thing when being introduced to a potential client or collector. I’m always excited for the possibilities from a simple email or question. Sometimes it’s an inquiry about a project that jumpstarts me in the studio to figure out a way to get it done. Sometimes I’ll hear that a piece I’ve made reminds them of something I haven’t thought of. They might notice a detail that never stood out to me but really speaks to them. It causes me to look at the piece in a new way, from a different perspective.
- Website: Justpatio.art
- Instagram: @justpatio
- Other: Justpatioart@gmail.com