Boss Lady: Megan Carn

Boss Lady is a series that shares personal insights from creative women in business. This week we chat with Megan Carn, an artist from South Carolina who paints with vivid colors and experiments with new subjects. Megan discusses how she grew her business and offers her best advice for those looking to do the same.

boss lady: megan carn

1. Tell us a little about yourself and your career.
I am 23 years old and I own my own business, Megan Carn, LLC. I graduated college in 2013, and spent the year and a half after college building my business on the side while I directed a museum. Then, in January of this year, I moved to Columbia and started doing painting full time! I have been steadily working on painting, website building, dealing with emails, and shipping– just trying to do everything it takes to run a business that has a tendency to get pretty crazy.

2. What draws you to painting and what prompted you to start selling your work? Do you only sell online?
I was an art major in school. After I graduated, I got into painting more than I ever had before. I love it! I was already selling during school and immediately after to family and friends, and after a few months I realized that it could be my full time occupation. I started selling online and it was great! I sell online in my store and then in select storefronts around the US. I’m expanding that now!

3. How do you navigate the work/life balance?
It’s tough! I have always held the belief that friends, family, and making real memories during trips and spontaneous gatherings is more important than working all the time. As an artist, I have to stay inspired and be careful not to get bogged down or burned out. To stay sane, I answer emails on a more limited basis, ship one time weekly, and I don’t stress about deadlines all the time (within reason). There’s nothing worse than being forced to be creative on a deadline! I do have to spend nights and weekends working sometimes, and that is never fun. Overall, balancing everything has been one of my biggest challenges so far.

megan carn art
4. What is your most successful form of marketing? 
Instagram, for sure, but honestly pinterest and facebook are a close second! Other than that, my own reaching out to people and word of mouth.
5. What inspires you and fuels your creativity?
I love looking at travel photos, I love flowers, and I love fashion. Other than that, just sitting with some watercolors and a sketchbook and thinking of new things to paint is my favorite.

 

6. Who is a Boss Lady that you admire and why?
Hmm. I am a big fan of a lot of different people! I have an art crush on so many different ladies- Susie Bettenhausen, Michelle Armas, Kerrie Rosenthal, Kristi Kohut, Sally King Benedict, Evelyn Henson, etc.– and that’s pretty similar!

 

7. What advice do you have for those looking to become an entrepreneur?
Be sure to have an original idea, and be sure you have an idea that you have a passion for. Otherwise, you’ll really quickly get burned out and over what you’re doing– OR, you’ll get in trouble for copyright infringement! I think in this wonderful time of social media and a rise in small businesses, there’s room for everyone that has a fire for what they are doing and a great product or service. (The worst thing is to see someone trying to build a small business on an imitation of another person’s hard work. I have had so many people copy my work to sell for themselves, and it is really discouraging!)

 

Just for fun…

 

behind the boss: megan carn

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Boss Lady: Katee Boyle

Boss Lady is a series that shares personal insights from creative women in business. Today we chat with Katee Boyle, a local fine artist who paints and works with different mediums like fabric and metal. As a visual storyteller, Katee shares life experiences through her work and expects different reactions from readers. 

Katee Boyle
Image courtesy of Alessandra Manzotti

1. Tell us a little about yourself and your career.
Since as far back as I can remember, I have only ever wanted to be an “artist”.  There was nothing else I thought about being and my biggest supporters, my parents, encouraged that dream. I grew up in Chadds Ford and followed my dream to NYC for Art School (I graduated with Degrees from both FIT and School of Visual Arts). Naturally, I was inclined to stay in NYC and worked in a variety of artistic opportunities for 12 years before relocating back to PA. My husband and I have three children under the age of eight and work and life pretty much revolves around them.

2. What prompted you to make art your full-time gig?
A bad economy.

In 2009, When the market was souring, I was laid off from a very demanding operations/events position with a prestige company that I had been with for 11 years. Simultaneously, I was pregnant with our third child.

I had so much energy from working 50 + hr weeks, it was difficult to put the breaks on. It was also a very emotional time and I spent a lot of of that time worrying what I was going to do next. My husband reeled me in and reminded me that I had My Art and that it was time to get back to my work. It was there all along waiting for me to return so I started painting again. Career wise, that layoff was one of the best things that happened to me.

I have been educating and opening myself the last couple of years through a lot of exploratory work with different mediums but painting comes naturally and is the start and the end of everything for me. I also incorporate a great deal of fabric into my work and since September, I have had the incredible honor of apprenticing with a ridiculously talented blacksmith so now I pretty much love bending and twisting metal and have many plans for tying that in to my future art projects.

Katee Boyle
Image courtesy of Alessandra Manzotti

3. Do you have any rituals or routines before/during work?
I work at night. There is too much life going on during the day time hours to otherwise maintain focus. I have always been a night owl and now that my days are consumed with my families activities, my work day starts at 10pm. I don’t have time for rituals and although I love music, it’s not part of my work scene. I find music is disruptive to all the chatter in my thoughts while I am working. I process my life experiences through my work. My work illustrates what I might not otherwise articulate.

I do dream about the kind of badass work I will be able to produce once I am able to shift my work day so that I may be fully productive (and awake). My four year old is my full time sidekick and when he is in school full time, I will miss him dearly but will also be kicking up my heels in my workshop.

Katee Boyle
Image courtesy of Alessandra Manzotti

4. What is your most successful form of marketing?
Facebook was really great to me for work sharing and sales but now with their limiting availability of posts, that fell off. I love Instagram for networking with other artists. It’s a game changer.

The support of local community oriented businesses who share my work has been tremendous for local exposure and has offered me opportunities for spreading my wings into other communities. I really appreciate the chain reaction.

I had told myself that for one year, I would say yes to any opportunity to share my work but I found myself in some less than feel-good places with my art. It compromised my integrity so I am thankful that year is up and will be selective going forward. I would rather show less with quality work and surroundings that share my sensibilities. I think that is really important for an artist/creative to remember. Otherwise, you drown yourself out. Networking is easy but you really must pick and choose.

5. What inspires you and fuels your creativity?
My moods, my thoughts, my dreams, my encounters with other people. Emotions. Grit. The Trees, the sky, the unknown. I’m very analytical, I over process everything and pour it all into my work. My mixed media work would be most closely defined as abstract expressionism relying heavily on emotions.  My work is highly textured and often has upwards of 20 layers, some peeled back, thoughts scratched out, ideas gouged from the surface.

I pull out what I would not say aloud. My clients tell me that even years after purchasing my work, they still see different things popping out at them. We all have stories to tell, if you look close enough, you will find something to relate to.

Mending by Katee Boyle
Image courtesy of Alessandra Manzotti

Just for fun…

1. Favorite museum or gallery?
MOMA for it’s awesome representation of contemporary art. It gets five stars for being an extremely child friendly museum.

2. Who are your style icons?
As an extension of my personality, I am all over the place with my style. It would start with my mom in the 1970’s in her corduroy overalls and Frye boots, Kathryn Hepburn anytime, Cowgirls and Indians, Amelia Airhart’s flying outfits (including the cap and goggles) and women’s turn of the century undergarments (bustiers and pantaloons). Anything deconstructed catches my eye. If I could, I would wear some sort of costume/uniform everyday to suit my mood but I am really trying not to embarrass my children during their formative years so mostly, you will find me in paint covered denim, preferably bell bottoms, a tank top, and boots.

3. Cocktail of choice; Ice cold Prosecco is ALWAYS a good idea. 

Where to locally find Katee Boyle’s work:
– Shish Interiors in Wilmington, Delaware
– Blue Streak Gallery in Wilmington, Delaware
– Philter Coffee in Kennett Square, PA
– Mala Galleria in Kennett Square, PA
– Addiction Studio in Philadelphia, PA

More on Katee Boyle:

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

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Boss Lady: Leigh Viner

Boss Lady is a series that shares personal insights from creative women in business. This week we are THRILLED to chat with Leigh Viner, an outstanding artist and photographer. Several years ago I saw her work in an article on Harper’s Bazaar and have followed her work ever since. Leigh’s photos, illustrations, paintings, and even her Instagram account are inspiring. I love Leigh’s unique, sophisticated and complex artistic style and cannot wait to see what she does next.

leigh viner artwork

Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I am a full time time freelance artist / photographer with a passion for travel, fashion and would rather read most of the time then watch TV, but get me hooked on a show and I will endlessly have a marathon session with the episodes I have missed. I am also a mom to a wonderful 10 year old daughter who is growing up so fast. I am looking forward to sharing my passion with travel with her eventually and someday dream of living part time in Europe. The history and way of life over there truly has grabbed my heart.

What does a “day in the life of Leigh” look like?
During the school year I am busy with getting my daughter ready and off to school. I then ( try ) to get in a workout of some sort a few times a week, by then I am not usually in my office until 10:00 am where I start the day with reading and answering my emails with my coffee and usually have my business meetings over the phone with my clients. I will also post on my blog/instagram and network a bit.

Before noon I concentrate on my print orders, ordering new ones, getting the ones that arrived ready to ship out for the day which usually takes me until 1:00 or 2:00pm. I then work on my illustrations for my clients for the remainder of the afternoon until I break again to grab my daughter around 3:30 to pick her up from school. I sneak in my errands, post office, dinner stuff etc with her.

After my daughter goes to bed, I am back at it until 11:30 pm or later most nights. Long, days for sure, but definitely doing what I love, which makes all the difference in the world.I used to continue that into the weekends working nonstop 7 days a week, but finally this past few years I have allowed myself to be a bit more slack and just enjoy my off time as much. With certain projects and deadlines I cannot always have a day off, but it is so important to find that work/ life balance.

What inspires you and fuels your creativity?
I am constantly reading something, between many books I have a complete magazine obsession, so flipping through editorials I find a ton of inspiration there. I also love foreign and classic films, music and again traveling; I am endlessly inspired by it all.

What is your most successful form of marketing?
It shifts a bit with so many outlets to market. I try to make sure to cover all of the networks; Instagram, Facebook, blogging and Twitter, but as of late I have been so busy with commercial clients, that my blog has suffered a bit, but again finding a balance to make sure I am posting as often as I can because I really love it and notice I miss it when I am not able to get to it. Truly though a happy customer and word of mouth, the old fashioned way, is the most successful form of marketing for me.

What advice do you have for emerging artists/photographers that want to make a career for themselves?
Be ready to put in a ton of hours for your passion, listen to your heart and continue with persistence. Create for you and practice, practice, practice. The best form of learning for me was to just experiment without fear. Go ahead and make mistakes and never be afraid to grow and learn new tecniques. I am still doing that myself. Also most importantly in this business make sure to charge what you are worth.

leigh viner photo

More on Leigh
Website | Shop | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

 

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