Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Art Biz Mama: Kim Klassen

An ARTIST, a MOM, a CREATIVE BIZ OWNER. What happens when you combine all three? Welcome to Art Biz Mama.  A series of inspirational interviews about being a mom, an artist and a creative biz owner.  
In an effort to connect, share and get to know some of my favorite artists (and I am sure they are yours too) a bit better and because I am a mama who has creative biz visions myself I have asked for a sneak peek into their very busy lives. To share a bit about just what it means to juggle these roles and how it all really plays out.

I know this is a topic that has been discussed plenty but for me (and you) I need to hear these stories. To know there are others reaching for their dreams and maybe stumbling at times, all the while caring for themselves and their family.

I believe we will glean a bit of insight from these smart and talented women that can inspire us all.

Today we have a special interview with the very sweet and kind Kim Klassen. Kim is always such a positive light in this world. She creates beautiful art and photos. I am so happy to have "met" her. So grab a cup of your favorite drink and be ready to be delighted!

Kim, first, let me say a huge “Thank You” for taking the time to answer these questions. I know how busy you are so it really means a lot to all of us that you took the time to be here today!

Would you please share a bit about yourself, your business and your family?

Dana, I’m really happy to visit with you.  Thank you so much for including me in this fabulous series. I’m truly honored.
Let’s see.  I’m a wife and a mother of 2 boys.  Brett is almost 20 and Bryce is 18.  I can not believe my kids are adults already.  The time zipped by so very quickly.  We live in the tiny town I grew up in.  My husband works at the hospital across the street from our home.  I have been a working artist for 16 years now.  Wow, I can’t believe that.  Anyhow, my first love was painting.  My business progressed from making art for sales, to teaching painting classes, selling on eBay, designing for magazines, then licensing my art as prints and giftware.  Last fall I found my true love… my Nikon.  I have fallen for my camera. I mean really fallen.  There is something so gratifying about photography.  I will always paint.  I love it as well.  But when I have my camera in hand I feel a sense of completeness.  It’s a beautiful thing. :) 

I would love to hear when and why you made the decision to start your creative business?

I started painting after we purchased our old brick house.  I would flip thru country living and country sampler magazines and long for all the beautiful hand crafted items.  So one day I paid a visit to an art store and picked up a few supplies.  And so it began.  Before long I was making art for sales.  Then I was flipping through a new painting pattern book and thought I really want to do this. I want to design patterns.  I remember telling my husband that I was going to do it.  And he. being the awesome guy that he is, said ‘I know you can do it, kimmy’.  (That’s what he calls me.) That evolved into a 4 plus year series of designs in Create & Decorate magazine along with designs featured in several other publications.  I also signed a contract with a print publisher and licensing company.  Due to a very stressful family time that lasted for over 2 years, I had a hard time creating.  I stopped producing.  This was all around the same time that the recession hit.  Anyhow, the money that we had become accustom to started to decline.  Last spring I knew I needed to recreate my path.  That lead me to blogging and then to photography.  I’m so thankful for the tough times, because they lead me to my 2 passions ~ photography and blogging.

How has having children affected your business and creativity?

Having children is probably the very reason I chose art as my business.  Once we had our first child I knew I had to find a way to stay at home with our kids. I hated being away from them.  I opened a daycare and I would sneak a bit of creating in during the day.  I would then work late into the night.  Once the kids were in school I closed my daycare and started making ART fulltime.
Anyhow, it’s definitely been a balancing act, and not always easy.  But it really allowed me to be available to the boys throughout their growing years.  My youngest son says he wants to find a job like mine. He thinks it’s a pretty good life. I have to agree. 

Would you please share what a “typical day” is like for you? Are your children in school, etc.?

My day begins at around 7:30.  I wake Bryce up and he is out the door by 8.  My husband leaves for work at 7, so it’s just me from 8 til noon.  Then the boys file in for lunch around 12:00.  Somedays I find the interruption frustrating.  I’m just being honest.  I love having the studio to myself, working away. 
Anyhow, at around 8 am I check my email, visit my favorite blogs and flickr friends.  If I plan on posting on my blog I try to get that up as soon as possible. I spend a few hours a day creating, whether it’s with photography or painting.  I also spend a lot of time in photoshop.  John comes home around 4.  We usually sit on the porch swing for about a half hour.  I head back to the studio for an hour or so, unless I need to run errands or head to the post.  Then it’s time to feed the hungry their dinner.  Sometime between dinner and 8:00 I do some everyday stuff like laundry, tidying up.  I then head back to the studio for an hour or 2 or 3. J  Lately I’ve been heading to the trail in the evening as well.  I lost our beagle andy just a few weeks ago.  Our walking schedule was more routine.  Now I tend to fit it in around my schedule and what’s happening during the day.  I wish I could make a habit of heading out first thing in the morning.  But I seem to be more inclined after dinner. 
I’m a complete homebody.  To be honest I could easily skip leaving home, other than for walks, all together.  My boys tease me all the time about my lack of a life.  

How many hours do you give to your business each week? Are you working during the days/evenings/weekends? Or all of the above?

Dana, I have a hard time distinguishing been work and play.  I love what I do. So I have to be honest and say I work at least 12 hours a day and probably about 10 hours on weekends.  But it does not feel like work.  My boys are independent now.  John works full time, then comes home and works in the yard.  He’s also incredibly helpful around the house. 

I have asked all of the other Art Biz Mama’s about balance of work and family. All of them seemed to agree there isn’t much of it. What is your experience with being and artist and a mom and trying to juggle it all?

I would say balance is a dream.  I think it’s pretty much impossible for a wife, mom and entrepreneur to have true balance.  And to be honest, I’m not sure balance is what I am looking for.  I love having my head so full of ideas and possibilities… trying to get as much accomplished as possible.  I love deadlines and time lines and big DREAMS.
I go to bed at night, completely excited to wake up and start this crazy ride all over again the next morning.  I feel so truly blessed to be living a creative life.  I wouldn’t trade it and all its chaos for the world.

Is there anything else that you would like to share with us today? Any words of wisdom for other artists/moms out there who wish to create a business out of their art?

I suppose I was say go for it!  State your intentions and just start doing.  Give up on perfection.  It’s futile.  If you are unsure of what your passion is… experiment, try new things and see what comes to you. 
Reach out to like minded people. It’s so easy to connect with other creatives, thanks to the web.  There are so many passionate, inspiring individuals sharing so much online.  There are courses available on almost any subject/skill you may wish to pursue.
The opportunities are ENDLESS. It’s awesome!
Let it flow and if you are truly passionate, you will be blessed with an abundant fulfilling life and business. 

Dana, thanks again for having me here.  Truly thank you! 

To learn and see more of Kim and her gorgeous art please check her out at:


stephanie levy said...

Kim is a huge inspiration! Kim - thank you for telling us that trying to achieve perfection and balance is futile, it is true. So glad to read about how much you love your creative life and family.

Dana - thank you for starting this series! It gives me hope and makes me feel less alone with my struggles :) Now I know we are all in the same boat!

jacqueline said...

WOW really gorgeous and very inspiring work! Kim's interview is wonderful and sooo inspirational!! Thanks so much for sharing and have a lovely merry happy day! Love to you!

Wini said...

Thank you Dana and Kim for a fabulous interview!! Kim's passion is really inspiring and I'm very impressed that she finds 12 hours a day to create during the week & 10 on the weekend! I really like the aged effects on the photos too. Wini xo

Concetta said...

Kim, I love what you say about getting up every morning ready to start the joyful journey again. So wonderful. Thank you both for this great interview (and your photos are beeeautiful!) x

Debby said...

I just strarted following Kim this week. I love her story. Like so many people she has had to recreate herself as her life changed. Her work is beautiful.
Now I need to check your blog out.

Caitlin said...

I love this! Thank you Dana and Kim for sharing in the passion.


I L-O-V-E Kim I have been following her blog for sometime now she's amazing - truly an inspiration. Thank you Dana for sharing such a wonderful interview ♥

beth said...

i love kim....and just like her, i could stay home for days on end without ever leaving :)

Mousy Brown said...

Love this post - thanks for this series Dana, it's the best! :D

chrissy said...

thanks dana for another inspiring interview.
i LOVE these.
i LOVE reading how creative moms do the balancing act.

AG Ambroult said...

Somehow, I missed this interview. so glad I was back here browsing again. Kim is such an inspiration. i love hearing how people switch mediums and find success again.

Daisy Yellow said...

Loved this interview! How wonderful to discover such an inspiring artist and photographer.