When I started selling portraits in 2012 I priced them for a measly $65. I was 24 years old living in Atlanta, recently married, working two part-time jobs, and side hustling with my art. It might sound crazy but it was actually pretty fun (until I needed healthcare benefits, ugh).
Like any side hustle my business ebbed and flowed with the ups and downs of my personal life. For example in 2013 when I got my first big girl job at Emory University, I didn’t paint as much. When I got divorced in 2015 and suddenly had all the time in the world that I didn’t want at all, I ramped things up. When I moved to the Bay Area in 2017 and it was fifty degrees in June (PSA seasonal depression is when you’re supposed to be barefoot on a boat in a tank top and no one else is experiencing seasonal depression in June except you and damn you Karl the Fog), painting was nearly nonexistent. Like I said, it ebbed and flowed.
Yet here I am six years later, launching a new-and-improved website and establishing a real social media presence with my portraits. In a weird way it feels a little bit like coming home. My portrait business has always been there waiting for me when I’m ready to pick it back up. My customers and supporters are always happy to see me reclaim my craft. But for a few reasons it feels a little different this time.
You see, people always told me I was undervaluing myself with my pricing and how I downplayed myself as not a real artist. I didn’t get it. It felt natural to practically give my art away. It felt decent to not brag about my abilities. Really this how I viewed to myself in regards to practically everything in my life. I truly believed that I wasn’t that special or worth a damn. But there’s been something about living in California and turning 30 that has given me the gift of claiming that I am special, worthy and ...wait for it... talented. My portraits are worth talking about. Worth showing off. Worth a few hundred bucks. I'm excited to see the artwork that's produced with this newfound confidence. Thanks to everyone who has supported me in my journey as an artist - especially those who believed in me when I didn't. It's gonna be a good year.
Julia Ann + Hank (my real-est companion)