Catching up with EB Hawks

Every New Year in lieu of resolutions, I choose a word of intention to use as a theme. In 2020 I chose the word vision. I’ve dreamt for a long time of starting my own art business and quitting my “real job,” but the time never seemed right. Frankly, I was also stymied by fear and self-doubt. Not long ago, my best friend told me she refused to live and make decisions based on fear any longer. It was the inspiration I needed to finally truly focus on my vision. So, you could say since my last MilSpoFAN feature, I’ve become a serious ARTrepreneur.

Research

It’s exciting, but it’s also a steep learning curve. I’m naturally a creative person, but I don’t naturally think like a small business owner. I’ve been researching like crazy, taking a lot of online courses, and starting to implement various strategies. 

Audience Building

I started with my blog. I rebranded to Artful Pursuits. To help me stay focused,  I wrote a mission, vision, and values. I add new inspiration, tutorials, and resources to it weekly and build my email list in the process. I send out a monthly newsletter which includes free resources and a recap of the last month on the blog. It has a very high engagement rate. If you’d like a monthly dose of inspiration, sign up for my newsletter.

I’ve also started to implement a social media strategy. I have a Facebook page, a regularly updated Instagram feed, Twitter, and Pinterest. Then, I started a YouTube channel to post art process videos and tutorials. 

Posting videos to YouTube meant I had to learn to edit videos, so I’ve learned Adobe Premiere. As a lifelong learner, it makes me happy to pick up so many new skills. 

Online Art Course & Art Shop

Now that I’m building an audience and learning to edit video, I’ve started to film my first online art course. My goal is to have it live by the end of summer.

Lastly, I’m opening a shop to sell my original artwork and prints. I have a professional printer at home for prints up to 13×19. For larger prints, apparel, and other items, I’m using a print-on-demand service.

As the pieces are falling into place, I’m determining what marketing strategy and funnel service to use to bring this plan to fruition and make it all sustainable.

Art Practice

As you can imagine, doing all of these things cuts into my art creation time. Amazingly, though, I’m still creating quite a bit. 

I’ve fallen in love with a technique I learned in a class called, “Painting With Paper.” It consists of painting all your own papers and then collaging an entire painting by ripping the papers into small brush stroke like pieces. I’ve completed some of my favorite pieces of all time with this technique. I’m experimenting with ways to use the techniques in a different way.

I’m also keeping up with my art journal practice. It’s incredibly therapeutic and gives me an outlet to experiment with new art media and ideas. 

Latest Collection

Currently, I’m working on a series of canvases I’m very excited about — mixed media pieces incorporating collage, paint, and hand embroidery. I’m doing them as my #100dayproject this year. The vision is to make 100 canvases to sell in my shop. I’ve completed 15 in the past month. You can see the collection in progress on my Instagram feed or by following the hashtag #100stitchedcanvases

2020 might be arguably the most screwed up year on record, but I’m forging ahead with my plans anyway. I’m proud of myself. It’s scary, but I’m not going to let fear dictate my decisions. I’m going to continue forging this path and I am going to realize my vision. 

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