Here is my interview with Voyage ATL where I share about my journey as an Artist! Enjoy!

Today we’d like to introduce you to Simone Elum.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Simone. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.

You know that feeling you have when time stops and the world fades around you, and you are present in the moment? That’s how I feel when I create.

When I was growing up, my mother used to make her own clothes, and I would look through her fashion magazines and try to draw the women in beautiful clothing. This led me to designing clothes and pursuing Fashion Design. While at college, my love for drawing and my skills improved when I took Life Drawing and Fashion Illustration, classes. I looked forward to those studio classes so much.

I always admired the Illustration and Painting Majors who would be in their studios creating large-scale works. At the time, I couldn’t see myself having a career as an Artist, so I continued the Fashion Degree thinking, people would always need clothes so at least I know I’ll always have work. After college, my husband and I moved to LA, and I worked for several Fashion companies in Product development. It wasn’t very creative, so I kept drawing on the side to fill that need to create.

I eventually started doing small art shows and craft fairs selling greeting cards and t-shirts. When I finally quit my day job at the time, I was doing freelance jobs as an illustrator. It was during that time that a local magazine reached out to me to draw live at a fashion event. I had never heard of anything like that, but I think it was at a time that Fashion illustration was making a comeback in the Art world. That was an unbelievable opportunity that led to more Live drawing events.

We eventually made our way to Georgia a few years ago, and I’ve been slowly working on my craft. I did my first Maker’s Market around Christmas last year and sold a few prints of my work which motivated me to keep drawing and sharing my art with the world. I was really intimidated by water-based mediums since I use mostly pencil and digital so, I took an Intro to Watercolor class at WonderRoot earlier this year. I really loved it!

I just wanted to experiment and paint whenever I could, so I took on a month-long challenge to paint every day and post to social media. It was fun, and it really got me motivated. I think I did about 20 paintings that month and I ‘ve been continuing to practice and share my progress ever since.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?

I am introverted by nature, and my biggest struggle has been marketing myself in a way that doesn’t feel opposite to who I am. Part of the difficulty of putting my art out there is feeling insecure about my work and how people will react to it, or not react to it.

Instagram has been the easiest way for me to share my work, but I always have to push myself to be open to criticism or rejection once I do share. Another struggle for me is being a perfectionist. Everything always has to be just right before I start drawing or painting, which leads to procrastination.

I have been doing better by giving myself short-term goals every month to complete a certain amount of paintings but, also not beating myself up if I don’t quite get there. We have to allow ourselves to try and fail versus not trying at all. At least if it’s not perfect, I can learn how to do it better next time. Progress instead of Perfection is what keeps me moving forward as an artist.

Tell us about your business :

I am a contemporary artist with a focus on female portraits and figure drawing inspired by Fashion, Film, and Music. I like to use traditional mediums combined with some digital techniques to create a realistic but modern style to my work.

I am proud of being able to use my art to inspire women to feel good about themselves and creating inspiring, feminine and stylish living or workspaces for them. Getting bored easily is what I believe sets me apart from others because it allows me to try different styles of rendering subject matter and new mediums.

I don’t think I’ll ever be able to say that my style remained consistently the same throughout my lifetime. If you like my work and are interested in purchasing prints or originals, or collaborations, please reach out via my website. I will also be launching a new collection of paintings later this year so, make sure to join my email list to keep updated.

If you had to go back in time and start over, would you have done anything differently?

If I had to start over, I would probably switch majors in college to Illustration or Painting. I didn’t know if I would be able to support myself financially as a fine Artist or Illustrator, so I chose the ‘safer’ route. If I hadn’t let fear of being a “starving artist” stop me from studying Art, I may have been much further along in my art career.

Lesson: Don’t Let Fear Stop you from following your Passion!

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