On Taking Risks And Starting New: Artist and Illustrator Catie Lewis

this fall, our theme is: flourish.

flourish (n.): to grow or develop in a healthy or vigorous way, especially as the result of a particularly favorable environment.

When we make work under our best conditions, we do more than survive—we thrive.

And what grow toward (or say no) to has a lot do with it. Whether you’re a small business owner, independent artist or side hustling creative, your career pathway will take resilience and strategic decision-making. Where do you choose to go? What makes something a yes? Which environments are best for your growth?

Those answers are nuanced, and for the most part they vary. So, as we prepare for craftHER Market Fall ‘19, we’re interviewing some of this market’s featured makers to learn more about their businesses and the ways they create favorable environments for their work. Read on for a peek into their process.

Catie Lewis of Catie Lewis Art

Catie Lewis of Catie Lewis Art

about today’s featured maker: catie lewis of catie lewis art

Catie Lewis is a self taught artist based in Austin, Texas! All the makers she saw at the Spring 2019 CraftHER market inspired her to get back into art and start vending herself. Catie enjoys making minimalistic, abstract line art, but she also loves creating detailed painting and big, bright murals.

How would you describe who you are and what you do?

I would describe myself as creative who’s always looking to learn new things. As a self-taught artist and a very new entrepreneur, I’m constantly trying to find inspiration all around me to apply new techniques and different mediums to my works and people or courses that can help me with the business side of art. My portfolio tends to look a little crazy as I’m still trying to find my unique style and the mediums and subjects that work best for me, but for now that’s just part of the learning process

What are some of the biggest growth moments you’ve experienced as a creative and/or business owner over the last year? What can others learn from your experience?

Right now, I’m quite literally spending every free moment I have to try and grow my business. So far, it’s been a lot of numbers—learning about taxes, investments, personal finance, how to price my work and how to budget my expenses. It’s been hard because I’m an artist and definitely not a math genius. But I’ve learned to be proud of myself for growing into self discipline and self motivation to get things done and see all the progress that’s been made. I’ve been reading lots of books, talking to experienced artists and leaving my house to meet others in the art community. With the craftHER grant, the Curly Executive has offered me a bunch of coaching sessions which has already been beyond helpful to me and will definitely give my business that push I need to flourish confidently!

How do you hold yourself accountable to the goals you set? How do you bounce back when something doesn’t go as planned?

I think one of my biggest growth moments was forcing myself to just start this business. I have no entrepreneurs or artists in my life, really. I had no one to give me advice or push me to use my talents as a way to make money! I had moved here in January all by myself, knowing no one anywhere near Texas, all the way from Charleston, South Carolina. I had been in school and working 50 to 60 hours a week between two jobs for three years straight! I hadn’t used a creative bone in my body for three years.

When I got to Austin, I saw the abundance of opportunity for creatives that I hadn’t seen before, and I decided to quit one of my jobs here and finally make time to paint and apply to some markets. Since then, I’ve been met with endless opportunities and so many amazing people that I would have never known if I hadn’t taken that leap. I hope others can see that sometimes you just have to wing it and go where your heart leads you

Any final thoughts you want to share with the craftHER community on supporting local businesses?

I would say that if I’ve learned one thing since starting a small, local business is that what you give will always come back to you. I go to markets all the time, and I always support other artists and other makers because I know the energy I give to their craft will come back to me through someone else! I have a whole wall of art from my favorite artists in Austin who all happen to be my friends now. When you choose to vote with your dollar on things, people and businesses that spark joy—you, too will find others who want to work with or invest in you.

Would you like to meet Catie in-person? Come out to craftHER Market Fall ‘19 on October 12 and 13, 2019 at Fair Market and stop by her booth. Click here to learn more.