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Dear Dad | A Letter to My Emotionally Abusive Father

There have been a lot of people who have told me how strong and brave I am for starting to speak out against the abuse my biological father inflicted on me, but honestly, I have always felt I was hiding behind my blog/book. It’s easier for me to write down my feelings – it comes as a second nature. Speaking, however, is extremely challenging. I didn’t fail my public speaking class in high school, but sharing my feelings verbally is…well, it feels impossible most days.

Last year, I wrote a letter to my dad that I never sent. Now that I finally want to, I know he isn’t going to read it and he isn’t going to care, so I recorded myself to share with you all. When I first wrote the letter, I made the choice to not spend any more time thinking about my dad because he doesn’t deserve my time. So, this video is not for him, despite the title. It’s really for anyone who has gone through the same things that I have – to show that there is hope, to prove that you can find the strength to face your abuser, and this is for my sisters who are still living with my dad.

My First Time Gardening, Ever

I love the idea of gardening and I’ve spent plenty of hours on Pinterest dreaming of the day I can follow in my grandmother’s footsteps and try out my green thumb. This year, I’m not letting my current living situation hinder my dreams. I took on my in-law’s yard to create a beautiful flower garden! And planted a few herbs…oh! and my first vegetable. Take a look…

It’s been two weeks since the video went up and everything is going amazing so far! The flowers are huge and vibrant as ever, my mint and lettuce have grown so much. As for my cabbage, I’m super proud of making sure it doesn’t die, but I have a little critter eating the leaves for breakfast! I’ll share some photos when I can.

The Best Natural Stain Remover

I found the holy grail!

The ultimate product for everyone…particularly mothers and clumsy individuals.

I was given some Puracy products to review – I’ve heard about them through my “crunchy” friends, as Puracy is a natural, plant-based company for environmentally safe home products.

I didn’t expect to fall in love with the stain remover, because let’s be honest, I had given up on removing stains. I’ve ruined so many white clothes, I’ve stopped wearing the color altogether. Baby blowouts? I just threw the onesies away.

When I saw the claims about Puracy’s stain remover, I laughed in disbelief and figured I could have some fun with seeing if the praise was worth it.

I took a white shirt I never wore, covered it in various fridge items. It was really fun. I followed the directions, sprayed the remover, and threw it in the wash.

It came out like this:

All the stains came out except for the lipstick. Go figure, right? I had really wiped a lot of lipstick on the shirt and I didn’t exactly follow the directions because tough stains, you are supposed to scrub and let sit overnight.

I listened to the directions and tried again, hoping I didn’t ruin my last white shirt. I also took my father-in-law’s white shirt…the shirt that’s filled with little food stains from months ago. I wanted to test the limits of the stain remover.

I soaked both shirts overnight, washed, and dried them. My mother-in-law and I were practically screaming when we saw the pristine white shirts. Both shirts! This must be a trick right? Or I took photos of the other side of the shirt and am lying?

I am not lying. I called my mom and sister-in-law to share the amazing news and I’m just ecstatic to finally be able to wear white again. I’ll sing the praises of the Puracy stain remover until the day I die. And I promise, I’m not just saying all of this because they gave me the products to review, this is my honest opinion and I’d never endorse a product I would buy for myself or suggest to my family.

You can try out the goodness of this stain remover & get 15% off if you use my code sali18.

And if you have any personal stain remover suggestions, let me know. I was thinking about doing a stain remover showdown!

Have You Been #ScammedbyMaayan?

Raise your hand if you have been personally victimized by Maayan Atias-Golbus.

Quite a few women have come forward, raising their hands and starting a movement, #scammedbymaayan

Maayan, an illustrator/artist, has allegedly scammed quite a few women – offering services and either not providing the product clients paid for or delivering work that wasn’t what clients expected.

I don’t usually write exposès on this type of thing because it’s just not my thing and frankly, I’m not interested in jumping into online drama. However, I felt drawn to this story because I had personally encountered Mayaan online.

Like many women in my field, I am a part of several Facebook groups to connect with like-minded ladies and increase traffic to our websites. In early this spring, I was scrolling through Facebook when I came across a post by Maayan on one of the groups I had joined. She offered to illustrate portraits for cheap and honestly, I was really interested. I thought the work was cute for the price ($27). I only passed due to financial reasons and I saw that her post had dozens of women interested Maayan creating digital artwork for them.

Though I moved on, within the next few weeks, Maayan had infiltrated every group I was in. Her posts were everywhere in my newsfeed and I thought, “Woah, this girl is persistent. Good for her! She obviously found a market.” The only problem was, she posted the exact same things in each group and it just set off a few red flags for me.

When I did a little research, looking up her name in each group, I found a pattern that spanned back all the way to at least 2016.

In each group, she’d post about her services. Then, she’d write a post about struggling with figuring out a good price point, followed by dozens of posts giving excuses on why she’s struggling to work with clients (she’s sick, busy, clients are “ghosting” her, etc). I felt really weary of her and made a mental note to avoid working with her.

Here is one of the posts she shared in dozens of groups:

I noticed two things from this particular post.

  1. Her work in this particular profile illustration has been “on sale” for $27 for ages. In each group she posted in, decent time between each post, the posts were exactly like this. I assume the posts were often like this because groups often have a “No Marketing” rule, so this way she’d be able to fish for customers without actually violating the rule.
  2. She clearly states it takes her 45 minutes to make but after a client called her out on not providing the product on time, Maayan claimed it took up to 10 days for her to make it. If only she was as consistent in doing the actual work than she was at finding clients.

Let’s fast-forward to the beginning of May, when I stumble on a major Facebook group thread about her on a blogging business group. A member of the group claimed that Maayan was a huge scammer and presented proof all the way back to 2016. Here is what she said…


“…I first noticed Maayan when she was posting in The Rising Tide Society. At the time, she was operating under the business alias Olive + Orchid, creating large calligraphy pieces (and cross-posting them to Girls LOVE Travel®), and started making “Meet the Artist” pieces (little biographical pieces).

It seemed like she got “overwhelmed” by work (or went on vacation, or “got sick”) and failed to produce content for people, DESPITE taking their money. A lot of people ended upcoming forward in RTS about her, realizing what had been happening, and in early 2017 she got herself banned.

Apparently, girl didn’t learn a lesson after being banned from a 75k group, and KEPT GOING (1).

I missed a lot of scamming between mid-2017 and now, so I’m just gonna focus on the present (though past evidence should be enough).

I’ve been noticing Maayan again lately because she apparently rebranded (aka had to start a new page, after her old Olive + Orchid brand was taken down by being reported) as Tiburon Design, and now does 10 minute illustrations instead of calligraphy.

I thought, ok MAYBE girl is making a fresh start and trying to put all her scamming ways behind her, but GUESS NOT. I noticed she was getting pushy about her services and claiming people were “ghosting” her, when really, her aggressive tactics probably set off potential clients ~spidey senses~. The post has since been deleted from the group (gotta cover up that paper trail, but ya know, internet never forgets and all), but essentially a lot of people commented that she was going a little too aggro messaging them, and it made them think twice.

She claimed that she was behaving in this manner because she had a $2k bill she suddenly had to pay, but then….I guess shopping with all the money people had paid her for SKINCARE, TIFFANY’S, and visiting Wizarding World at UNIVERSAL was more important than actually CREATING the products people had paid for.

In the last two days, I’ve noticed a post in The LadyGang go up about someone who was scammed by her, and been added to a fb group chat with at least a DOZEN people who have been scammed, including people who have had Maayan attack their businesses when they tried to get refunds issued.

PLEASE, take your business elsewhere if you’ve been considering purchasing any of her supposed artwork or branding packages, issue a chargeback for your payment, and spread the word. There are a lot of hardworking illustration artists who are willing to put in the time and create quality pieces for you, but this is probably not one of them.”


After reading the claims, I felt bad for the victims, but since I wasn’t personally invested in this drama, I didn’t want to get involved. While Maayan was still a part of that group when the claims were made, she made her own post, apologizing and hoping to correct any issues clients had. Members of the group used the opportunity to explain to her that she needs to focus on changing how she handles her business and many expressed their concern that Maayan wasn’t genuinely sorry – apologizing just because she got called out. Maayan deleted the post and by the end of the day, she was no longer a part of the group.

Fast forward, again, to this week (June), and as I’m aimlessly scrolling Facebook before bed, I see Maayan post her services on my favorite girl squad group. This group has been so amazing, so many talented women supporting each other and I couldn’t bear to see anyone get scammed.

I messaged Maayan to try to politely hint that I was aware of the rumors about how she did business and how I believed in second chances. Maayan played dumb and blocked me, so I messaged the few ladies who commented on the original post, letting them know of the claims toward Maayan.

The members I messaged were happy I had said something, but I was little too late for one woman who had already paid Maayan and was still waiting for her product to be emailed even though she was told she’d get it right away. It was in that moment, with certainty, that Maayan wasn’t going to stop and she had used all the chances in the world unable to learn her lesson.

After the year I’ve had (some of you may know), I’m so done with staying quiet and letting people like Maayan take advantage of unsuspecting women. I didn’t want to start a witch-hunt or anything, I just wanted people to know what was going on, but before I tried to take down Maayan, I had to do my own research to make sure that scams were really going on.

During my in-depth research, I noticed Maayan was often super agressive, snarky, and just downright unprofessional with potential clients and current clients who were asking what was going on with their work. When she would ask for advice in her posts, she’d bite the heads off any one offering feedback (which makes me wonder why she continued to ask for help, if she didn’t accept any of it).

This is when I came across the #scammedbymaayan movement. A woman in 2017, Brocha, publicly claimed that Maayan was horrid to work with…

“Today Maayan Atias-Golbus refused to refund me money for a project I hired her for. A project that was not finished in its completion by the time she said it would be. I was strung along for a month, but she said the first drafts would be ready within a few days. I was super patient until things didn’t add up anymore and I started saying I’ll go elsewhere. Then she sent me a half-ass project by the deadline I finally insisted she follow. (Also while checking in constantly and getting a million excuses). I did not get what I had asked for and when I asked her to refund me she refused and said she doesn’t do that. Please do not ever shop by her, she is a scam and a thief!”

A month later, Brocha shared another post about #scammedbymaayan

“Maayan Golbus is continuing to scam people. I know this because they keep reaching out to me. Same story for each person. I still haven’t gotten my money back. The only way she would do so is if I signed a NDA about what she did to me, and that would never happen.”

Brocha copied her conversations with Maayan and put it on a Google Doc for everyone to read if they wanted to. I had the pleasure of reading it as well and basically, this is what went down…

Starting October 17th, the order between Brocha and Maayan is placed. October 24th, Maayan asks for Brocha’s email to send an invoice – saying she’ll do as many revisions as needed for the work being ordered. On October 27th, Brocha asks for an update and Maayan said her iPad died but she’ll get a draft out that day. On October 28th, Brocha reaches out, wondering if Maayan has the draft ready. Maayan asks for 20 minutes to send it. On October 29th, Maayan said it would be done sometime that week. On November 6th , Maayan claimed her email wasn’t working and it was done. After a few more days, Brocha is getting tired of the excuses and politely asks for the project to be completed. Maayan apologized, saying her brain was fried and asked for Brocha to message her later because she was at physical therapy. Then, Maayan claimed her screen broke but she’ll send the drafts when she gets home. She then claimed the last few weeks have been crazy with her chemo treatments. A few days after this, Brocha continues to remind Maayan about sending her the draft and eventually promises to send it or give a refund. Maayan started to give off more excuses and rambled about the work not being a JPEG…and while the end of the conversation is a little confusing, Brocha ends up dissatisfied and out of money she paid Maayan.

As Brocha shared her story, women started to come forward claiming they had the same issues with Maayan and were given every single excuse in the book for why they weren’t receiving their product, aside from “my dog ate it”. A private group was formed for the women who were unhappy with Maayan’s services and there was suggestions to report her to the FBI for fraud or take her to small claims court.

That wouldn’t be possible as of yet, because while assuming she uses her actual name, no one can pinpoint her location. While sources lead to a Chicago address, she’s been connected to Florida, Texas, LA, San Rafael, a religious seminary in England, and Israel.

In addition to Brocha’s statement, here are a few more shared by victims of Maayan:


MC: I ordered a portrait few weeks ago, and after waiting for a week and a half, I had to request the money back. It was a bummer because I really wanted the portrait, but at least I got my money back! I believed that she was sick (that’s what she told me). First two days, then a week, then I had to extend it for two more days because she had hurt her wrist. After the last two days, still no product.

MM: I ordered a logo from her and what I got back is not what I asked for. But she made me pay before delivering the final product.

CG: I felt bad for her after reading her posts and ordered an illustration…After a week I realized she hadn’t even asked me for my photo or anything so I sent her one and haven’t heard of her since then

JT: I purchased two illustrations from her after her post in this group. I was told I’d get them in a week, then 10 days, then she had ‘errands’ and an ‘allergy attack’ then ‘physio’. After chasing her every day for two weeks she delivered one very poor quality illustration and was super aggressive about my dissatisfaction. In the end I asked for a refund and she returned half my money and I haven’t seen the rest. I’ve had to write it off. I’ve never felt like such a burden to anyone in my life just trying to get a product I ordered!

Anonymous: “I paid Maayan for a rebranding package. About a week in I realized how awful she was. She hadn’t yet sent me anything so I asked for a refunded. She said she couldn’t afford to. Things went downhill From there. What she gave me was awful and nothing like I wanted. She even put my wrong business name on many of the items. She wouldn’t fix the things she messed up. Finally I filed a charge back with my bank. When she realized I did that she had everyone she knows pubically attack my business. 24 hours a day for 3 days. I literally stayed up all date and night to delete her slanderous posts as soon as she made them. I finally caved and cancelled my charge back to save my business from her posts.”

JA: I made the HUGE mistake of hiring her

EH:  I bought a design from her and have yet to receive it.

AB: I ordered from her and she told me a turn around time would be a week. When a week came & gone, I pretty much messaged her every day & it was always something. She spent all day in the airport, her gmail wouldn’t let her send emails, etc. It was extremely frustrating considering I already paid her. It was also extremely frustrating seeing her posts asking for more clients when she hadn’t even finished the ones she had. I finally got my image and she did a good job on it but since I had to work so hard to get what I paid for, I probably won’t invest in something like it again.

While it’s clear Maayan has several angry customers, there are a few testimonials from clients who received their product and were mostly satisfied…

MG: Honestly, I had a okay experience with her. After seeing people post about her scamming them I got scared that I would be scammed too. I messaged her and was very polite about the matter and asked when it would be done and she had it to me the next day. Yes it took a while and I had to pester her, but I think she means well but she doesn’t handle herself in a professional manner and that’s her problem.

KL: Her illustrations are excellent. Don’t knock her for her work…I was extremely impressed.

AC: I’m obsessed. She gave me something I didn’t know how to articulate, but was exactly what I wanted.


I looked into the excuses Maayan has given and I’m not able to confirm anything, but it honestly doesn’t matter. Overall, Maayan is an extremely unprofessional business owner who makes excuses for her poor relationship with clients and general consistency in product delivery. She seems to have way too much on her plate, considering her admitting that over and over again. She seems to dabble in a lot and if she worked the business correctly, she could be very successful because she really has talent. She was an illustrator for a cute little book, sells stickers on RedBubble (under her old business name, Olive and Orchid), has a photography page, uses Twitter regularly, along with Instagram, she has two Facebook accounts, and claims she’s going to medical school.

While she has a few loyal customers defending her, many are extremely upset and have started the #scammedbymaayan movement. Many are sick of seeing Maayan get away with what she’s doing and hope to put a stop to it.

Maayan, if you’re reading this, I think it would be in everyone’s interests if you stepped back from your duties as an illustrator/calligrapher/artist. Reassess. Get your live in order. Don’t delete everything and come out rebranded next week. If you continue to do this, your clients will have no choice but to take the next steps.

Whether or not Maayan can be stopped, we can use this as a lesson.

  1. Do your research before buying services with anyone – you can find a lot of information and reviews just by searching Facebook and Instagram.
  2. Pay for the product after it’s made, or do a 50/50 agreement.

And advice to fellow business owners? If you have taken on too many clients, fall behind due to reasons beyond your control, or just find yourself overwhelmed, do yourself and the clients a favor by messaging each of them with an explanation, an extended timeline for you to complete the work, and offer a refund to any client who doesn’t want to wait.


If you have had a negative experience with Maayan, please come forward.

And to help us get the word out, feel free to share this post and use #scammedbymaayan

Gluten & Dairy-Free Lasagna

Living a gluten-free, dairy-free life has really put a damper on my relationship with food. Except a few weeks ago when I found no-boil gluten free lasagna noodles (internal screaming)!

I played around with the recipe a little, but it was extremely tasty. I did use goat cheese, so it’s not technically “dairy free”, more like “cow free”, but you can easily substitute the cheese with some vegan cheese or just not use any at all.

Ingredients:

  • Barilla Gluten-Free Lasagna Noodles
  • 1 pound ground turkey, cooked & drained
  • 1 cup frozen shredded kale
  • 1 large can tomato sauce
  • 2 yellow peppers, diced and skillet cooked until soft
  • 1 package goat cheese
  • 2 tablespoons oregeno
  • 1 tablespoon basil
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Mix spices with tomato sauce
  3. Using a 9×13 pan, layer noodles, sauce, meat, veggies, and cheese. Repeat until you either run out of items or the pan is filled.
  4. Now, here is my tip…the noodles did not come out that great when I made this the first time. They were still crunchy despite covering them with lots of sauce. So, I boiled mine just for a minute or two to get the process started, then made sure to slather them in sauce. They must be covered completely.
  5. Cover with foil and bake for 45 minutes.
  6. Enjoy!

What’s In My Make-Up Bag?

Makeup never used to be something I used in my daily life because I didn’t see the point. For one, the women around me seemed to only use makeup to hide behind a face they were self-conscious about and I didn’t want to become one of those women. I also never wanted to put in the time and effort to get my face ready for the day.

Today, I’m still mostly makeup free but as I continue in my writing career, I want to present my best self. I’m confident in my natural state, but enjoy throwing on a little something here and there.

The following are all the products that I own, some I use on special occasions and some I use religiously.

Lips

  • Manna Kadar Priming Lipgloss Stain, All of Me, $24
  • Starlooks Lipstick, Jet Set, $12
  • Rimmel London Moisture Renew, Vintage Pink (sorry guys, this is no longer available)
  • Wet n Wild MegaLast Liquid Catsuit Matte Lipstick, Pink Really Hard * Berry Recognize *Rebel Rose * Nudist Peach, $4.99
  • Starlooks Lipstick, Rawr, $12
  • Maybelline Color Sensational Matte Lipstick, Blushing Pout, $5.59
  • Starlooks Lip Pencil, Peony, $12
  • Wet n Wild Megalast Lip Color, Dollhouse Pink, $2.49
  • Katy Perry Covergirl, Pink Paws, $3.19
  • Revlon Matte, Really Red, $5
  • Starlooks Lip Pencil, Dragon Fruit, $12

Eyes

  • Starlooks Lengthening Mascara, $17
  • Chanel Les 4 Ombres Quadra Eye Shadow, Euphoria, $61
  • Wet n Wild Au Naturel Palette – Bare Necessities, $3.49
  • Color Icon Kohl Liner Pencil, $0.99
  • NYX Eyebrow Cake Powder, Dark Brown/Brown, $6
  • Starlooks Eye Liner Pencil, “Brun” “Noir“, $9
  • Maybelline Marbleized Eyeshadow, Bronze Blowout (unavailable)
  • Covergirl Lashblast Volume Mascara, $5.55
  • Sephora Eyeshadow, All That Glitters (unavailable)
  • Maybelline Expert Wear Eyeshadow, Earthly Taupe, $3.99
  • Starlooks Cream Eye Shadow, Concrete, $12

Face

  • Wet n Wild Photofocus Foundation, Shell Ivory, $5.99
  • Wet n Wild Concealer, light ivory, $3.99
  • Starlooks Powder Blush, Darling, $12
  • Wet n Wild Photo Focus Matte Face Primer, $4.99
  • Mary Kay Translucent Loose Powder, $16
  • Mary Kay bronzing powder, light-medium, $18
  • Starlooks Cream Blush, Abstract, $12
  • Starlooks Blush/Highlighter Duo, Tropic/Ritz, $12

Perfume

  • Clinique, Happy, $52
  • Thierry Mugler, Alien, $29
  • Natural Egyptian Queen of the Nile (bought locally)

Tools

  • SOHO Foundation brush (no longer available for purchase)
  • Beauty Blender, $20

My go-to items are all of the Wet N Wild products and the Starlooks Mascara & cream blush (which you can get 50% off your orders by using the code samxstarlooks)

What are the go-to beauty items you use?

My 10 Must-Have Items For Summer

Summer is my 2nd favorite season, but it would by my #1 if it was always around 75 degrees, sunny, not humid, and zero bugs.

Which is why I need these products to make the summer bearable.

1| A good pair of sunnies. I’m currently on the lookout for a new pair, preferably a prescription set.

2| Pair of comfortable sandals (I got these from Woman Within because my feet are too big for regular store sandals).

3| A good bug spray. My go-to is Puracy. I try to avoid the ones with a bunch of chemicals and the last organic one I brought seemed to have attracted MORE bugs. You can find the bug spray here (and get 15% off if you use the code “sali18”).

4| Sunscreen. There are many choices that are pretty unhealthy for your skin. My favorite is Badger, but it’s a little pricey so on a budget I like sticking with the Equate (Walmart).

5| A large beach towel. My grandpa had this huge blue towel I loved to use when I went to visit. After he passed in March, I became the owner of that towel and I’m so excited to take it to the pool. It’s so big and fluffy.

7| Gardening tools. I just recently started gardening & my son got his own plastic tools so he can assist me.

8| Water shoes for my son. Going to the pool is fun but they have a no street shoe policy and if my feet burn on the cement, I want to protect his little feet too.

What are your must have summer items?

Celebrating Christina Scheppmann Thomas

So far we’ve had a personal stylist, published author/youtuber, and mompreneur featured for the “Celebrating Phenomenal Women” series. I’ve been so inspired by all of them & I know you have felt that same inspiration. I’m so excited to continue this with Christina Scheppmann Thomas, artist & owner of Persika Design Co.

Can you tell readers about yourself?

Hi! I’m Christina! I’m the owner & artist of Persika Design Co. – a fine art, stationery, & home decor company that focuses on celebrating the little joys found in life & nature.
I started making wedding invitations for friends in college, while I was getting my Bachelor’s degree in Visual Art & then my Master’s degree in Business Management. I quickly realized I wanted to have my own company & design a variety of products while focusing on my painting as the primary source of inspiration. My artwork is inspired by floral arrangements, plants, animals, & nature in general, along with fashion, design, travel, spirituality, & emotional expression.

I live & work in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin with my husband, TJ. TJ often helps me in the process of creating & is a vital source for me to turn to when I have questions or need critique. He even helps sell at markets with me! He’s great at it!

When I’m not painting, I’m probably reading in the bathtub, taking a walk, cooking, doing yoga, writing for my blog (Art & Gather) or binging my favorite show, though I do that while I’m painting too!

Shop Persika Design Co.
& Follow me on Instagram
& on Facebook
Oh! & read my blog here

Who are the artists you draw inspiration from?

I really enjoy & have been particularly influenced by the work of Henri Matisse, Raoul Dufy, Fairfield Porter, Josef Frank, Henry Darger, Van Gogh, and Paule Marrot.
However, my favorite contemporary artists to follow are mostly women! Carson Ellis, Lulie Wallace, Heather Day, Britt Bass, Teil Duncan, Anna Bond, Danielle Kroll, Helen Dealtry, Bijou Karman, Laura Garcia Serventi, Katy Smail, Emily Isabella, Monika Forsberg…

It’s honestly hard to stop because I have been crazy inspired by the community of women artists that I’ve mostly discovered through Instagram & Pinterest. BTW, not only are these ladies talented artists, they’re also incredible business women.

Have you always wanted to be an artist?

I’ve always been an artist. There wasn’t a point when I said, “I think I’ll become an artist.” I just started making, from a very young age – probably whenever my hands were capable of picking up a crayon. My parents were always very supportive – whether I was a child or an adult trying to make my art into a career. But regardless of job title or whether your art supports you full-time, you’re an artist as soon as you stop daydreaming & actually decide to put pen to paper (or whatever your medium) & follow the guide of your inner muse. That’s when you become an “artist.” Lots of people want to become an artist or create something beautiful. I don’t think people realize it can be so simple. You don’t need permission from anyone. You don’t need to put unrealistic expectations on yourself. Just make! And whatever you make will be beautiful if it’s authentically coming from within.

What are some struggles you feel all artists are subjected to and what techniques have you learned to rise above those struggles?

There are different stages, in my mind, depending on how seriously you take your art & how much expectation you put on it. The artist (& it doesn’t matter how long they’ve actually been making) who views their work as more of a hobby or thing on the side will typically wait around for inspiration to strike. However, if you truly want to make art, you’re making a huge mistake if you’re waiting for the inspiration to strike. You have just get out all of your supplies & start making. Through all of that vigorous making, remember to retain your critical eye. In order to get better, you have to throw some things in the trash and move on.

The other stage is the artist who takes their work very seriously & accidentally, ends up taking themselves too seriously in the process. If you’re trying to make a career out of your art, you might end up viewing your creativity as a means to an end – how will you make money from this? When things get overwhelming, it can seem like the most logical next step is to look outside yourself & gauge what is popular in the market & try to copy those trends. The thought process here is that if it works for them, it will probably work for you. This creates an air of desperation around your artwork that is absolutely detrimental. This is when an artist’s well really starts to run dry & sadly, many artists lose the will to make entirely. It takes some soul searching & reflection to come back to your own inner voice & realize the only way you’ll ever grow as an artist is by staying true to yourself.

I can think of several people just in my own life that have more negative feelings towards art. Can you explain why it’s an important part of a society?

I could probably come up with a hundred reasons or more as to why art is important not just to society, but to the individual. I’ve found that most people who belittle art or who have negative feelings towards art or artists, in general, are usually coming from a place of ignorance. Art just isn’t valued as much as it could be or should be in society.

Here are some of the reasons I think art is important:

  • Art enriches history by contemplating or illustrating the past. It can help students understand historical events in a more engaging way.
  • Art can give us a gateway into history when we might not have written accounts or in a way that supplements written accounts.
  • Art can help people learn about any variety of subjects. It’s even used as a primary tool in helping people learn to read!
  • Art can enhance neighborhoods & communities by bringing beauty to buildings via murals or even electrical boxes or with sculptures.
  • Communal art activities & projects are a great way to bring communities together.
  • Art can aid discussion on relevant news, current events, political topics or tragedies that might be otherwise difficult to broach.
  • Art can comfort those who are suffering or bring humor to those who need their spirits lifted.
  • Art can encourage its makers & viewers to find ways to talk about complex &, at times, abstract & conceptual topics.
  • Art can give voices to the marginalized or oppressed.
  • Art can bring beauty & joy to our surroundings.
  • Art inherently can point to THE Creator – God! We have this innate drive to create because we’re made in the image of God.
  • Art can cause us to reflect & appreciate life more fully.
  • Art can be a form of therapy & help those are recovering from injury or addiction or are disabled or mentally ill.
  • Art can empower individuals & give a sense of self-worth or even provide the ability to make money doing something you’re talented at & passionate about.

In my early twenties, I volunteered at a rehabilitation center to help disabled & mentally ill adults make art & express themselves in ways they otherwise couldn’t. Now, I’ve been volunteering at a nursing home, working with an art therapist, to help elderly people make art. I’ve found it really brings a lot of enjoyment and keeps people sharp mentally & physically, with their eyesight & fine motor skills.

Have you ever felt like giving up on this dream of being an artist?

I’ve never felt like making art is something that I would have to give up because even if I had to do other jobs on the side (as I have for many years), I know that I will always be able to make time for my art & keep it a priority in my life. I have had a lot of questions about my business, though, & questioned whether I’m investing in the right thing or if a product will be sustainable or if I’ll be able to support myself full-time. I’m still figuring this part out because my company is in its infancy, but I’ve come to learn that finding other business owners to be in community with can be a great source of help & just overall encouragement & motivation. I’m excited to find mentors at this early stage of my business because everything is always harder when you do it alone, but when you are vulnerable & ask for help & take advantage of the resources around you, things can much more easily fall into place.

Can you share the entire artistic process with us? From the idea, to how long it takes for a project, to what techniques you use to promote/sell, etc.

Ideas are very enigmatic. They can strike at any time. Since I can’t make everything at once, I like to keep detailed lists on my phone & in notebooks so that way, when I’m having trouble coming up with a new idea, I can go back to my lists & start working on some of my older ideas. Not every idea works, you have to know when to cut your losses or start over & approach it in a different way. The amount of time it takes depends entirely on what I’m working on & the scale. But usually, I make more than I need to & that way I can weed through everything & only keep the best pieces to put into production or share online. Once I have the product or finished art piece, I take time to style it & take photographs in natural light. I also determine how I want to package it & how I will protect it for the consumer. I use social media (Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook) the majority of the time to promote sales or new products. I’m working on growing my email list so that I can send regular email updates & special promotions (Sign up at the bottom of my homepage: https://persikadesignco.com). I write press releases when I release a new series & send it to blogs & relevant media. I do paid Facebook & Instagram ads when I see something is getting a lot of engagement or if I have a sale to promote. I love markets because I get to meet my customers face-to-face & talk about the products & see their reactions. It’s all a process of trial & error & seeing what works out the best for you & how your audience can be reached, but I will say that my friends & family have been the number one referrers for me & I’m working on setting up a referral program that will incentivize people to refer even more & give back to them for being my greatest advocates!

I know there are several talented artists reading this interview right now, but they keep their talent a hobby. What advice do you have for them if they want to start selling their art?

The process of selling your art can be challenging, but a major part of that process starts when you develop your own voice, style, & brand. You’re never going to develop consistently if you’re not fully committed to your art & treating it as more than a hobby. You need to carve out time & just make. That’s the part that requires the most attention – the actual making of the art. If you have that down & you want to start getting it out there & selling, you should set up an Etsy or website with e-commerce abilities, set up & be consistent in posting on social media, join some facebook groups for artists that give alerts for when there are gallery shows to submit to or markets to be a vendor at, find alternative settings to display your art, like coffee shops or restaurants, get your friends & family to be your advocates & tell them you’re really serious about having a business… That’s key: Choosing art as a career is more than just making. You have to treat it like a business because you are indeed a business owner.

What are some goals you’re working towards right now?

This spring/summer I have several markets & gallery shows coming up (Check out the events page of my website here), so I’ve been working on developing more products for those, particularly more art prints. But my long-term goals are to collaborate with companies on art for products or licensing & to do a solo show at a gallery.

I know several artists who like to express themselves through fashion, in addition to their canvas. Is this true for you as well? How would you describe your fashion sense?
I actually wanted to be a fashion designer for awhile in high school & Project Runway is one of my all-time favorite shows. Since I work from home, usually by myself, doing somewhat messy work (It’s almost a guarantee I will get paint on my clothes), I don’t dress up too much anymore & I usually just wear basics. But, I love to keep up with the runway, because those pieces are works of art in their own right, & I love street style blogs. I guess, if I’m actually trying to look nice & put an outfit together, I’d say my fashion sense is a lot like my art – playful & whimsical while balancing a contemporary edge & a nod to vintage.

What’s your favorite snack to have on hand while working?

Usually, it’s coffee & fruit or nuts. Although, I usually try not to eat while working. I’d rather take breaks and be more mindful – I’ve been really working on appreciating food while I’m eating it & not taking it for granted.

One of the motivations for this series is to prove that we women can raise each other up without having to tear someone down in the process. What advice do you have for the woman who feels torn down right now?

Whoever feels torn down or not good enough needs to recognize that their validation, self-worth, or motivation to follow their dreams can’t come from external sources. It needs to come from God & from within. Once you’re able to find that confidence & give yourself permission to be the best version of yourself & go after your greatest ambitions, cut out all of the people who take away from that – unfriend them, unfollow them, stop talking to them, do whatever you need to do to make yourself & your wellbeing a priority. You’re going to need to feel good & safeguard your joy in order to maintain the motivation you need on your journey. Anytime you find community & people who are kind & encouraging & going after their dreams too, be intentional about nourishing those relationships because they can be so life-giving. Lastly, one of the greatest sources of joy for me lately has been through giving back. Your skills & abilities & talents have been given to you for a reason (& that reason is not just to make money!) It is your responsibility to use them wisely & use them to give back to others. Find a way to volunteer or start a project that isn’t all focused on making money. When you see that money isn’t the source of your abundance or joy, you’ll be able to withstand so much because you’ll know you are & you have so much.


photography credit: Hannah Toldt Photography

art featured in this interview: Bicycle Girls & Meraki

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