Thursday, July 08, 2010

Art Biz Mama: Stephanie Levy

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.

Dear friends,
I am so glad you are enjoying this series as much as I am. It is so great to read true stories of mom's running creative businesses. 

I am back with an interview with artist Stephanie Levy. I came across Stephanie and her beautiful art when I first was delving into blogging and this on-line art community. Her art was instantly a favorite of mine. She runs two wonderful blogs:  
http://stephanielevy.blogspot.com/
http://artistswhoblog.blogspot.com/ 
And a successful Etsy shop, stephanielevy.etsy.com. She was recently an Etsy Featured Seller.  Wonder how she does it all? Keep reading and be ready to be inspired and delighted.






Hi, I’m Stephanie, an American artist/illustrator and mom to two little girls, Sophia and Lucy, ages 4 and 2. I’ve been living in Germany for the past 14 years, and I love the way the Internet gives us a chance to connect all over the globe!

So let me start by asking when did you make the decision to start your creative business?

I’ve been making art for as long as I can remember, and have a degree in painting. However, I always found most commercial galleries to be rather intimidating, and after the birth of my second daughter, I discovered the Internet as a way to market and sell my artwork online. In March 2008, I opened my first online shop with a small collection of a few paintings. Several months later, I began selling limited edition giclee prints of my artwork in my Etsy shop – http://www.stephanielevy.etsy.com
Interestingly enough, I still find it difficult to think of my art-making as a "business“ – unfortunately, this is something that was not very well explained during my art school training. Now I’m teaching myself more about the business side of art and learning as much as I can from others who’ve made the leap!



    
                               


How has having children affected your business and creativity?

Having children is without a doubt one of the very best things that has ever happened to me. At the same time, it is a challenge balancing my time between doing what I love, running a creative business, and spending time with my family. I do hope that my working creatively is a positive influence for my daughters. My husband is also an artist, and some of our happiest times are when we are all drawing, painting, or making something together. We have a rather chaotic household, but it is certainly a creative one with lots of art supplies and worktables everywhere!




  

Would you please share what a “typical day” is like for you? Is there school or childcare, etc. while you are working on your biz?

I normally get up at 7 am, have breakfast with the kids, and walk them over to their preschool, which is conveniently located only one block away. Afterwards, I try to take a walk myself if the weather is nice, before I go home and start working on the computer or on new artwork. If it were up to me, I would love to spend at least 4-5 hours making new artwork each day – but often there are other things I must attend to - like email, paperwork, housework, phone calls, etc.
I make a list of what I most need to get done every day – often the night before – and then I tackle my list in terms of priority each morning. I ALWAYS put too much on my list, and I never accomplish everything I wanted to get done… This is a process I am still working on!
At 3 pm, I go pick up my children, and we take a walk, often get an Italian ice cream in the summertime or some kind of treat, and play at the playground or at home until my husband gets home at 4:30 pm. Luckily, my husband is a great cook, so we take turns making dinner in the evening. After dinner, we bring the children to bed, and if they go to sleep right away  - unfortunately this is not always the case - then we have a little time for each other as a couple before we go to sleep. If I have a big deadline, I will go back to work in the evening. However, I am trying my best not to completely sacrifice sleep. I did this for a long time, but I have come to the realization that I function better as an artist and a mother if I am not totally sleep-deprived!

                                    


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

I do as much work as possible during the daytime when my children are in preschool and my husband is at work, so that I have more time for them in the evenings and on the weekends. I would like to devote more hours to my artwork than I do now – but my children are still young and simply need a lot of time with me. Recently, I was complaining to my physical therapist that I usually have only 3-5 hours each day to work on the computer/on my art and he said, “Be happy about this, and enjoy the time with your children! They will only be this young for a short time!” Of course he is right and it helped to put things in perspective. If I didn’t have children, I would probably be an obsessive workaholic!

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I know this is a subject that is always being addressed but I need to bring up balance. Do you feel you have a healthy balance between your work life and your family life?
  
I think it is a struggle to accept things the way they are, the good sides and the bad. Some days I feel very frustrated that I don’t have enough time to work, and other days I feel guilty that I haven’t planned some wonderful, creative activity for my family! I imagine that finding this balance is a challenge for all working moms, and probably each person has to find their own comfort zone. I would love to hear more tips from other creative moms!

                                Seaside Villa


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?

My best advice would be to be gentler with yourself, and less perfectionist. Most of us want to do everything “perfectly” – be the perfect mom, the perfect wife, the successful artist/crafter, the kind, attentive friend, the caring daughter – the list goes on and on and it is so overwhelming! We have to realize that no one is perfect, no one has a perfect life – we are all just plugging along and doing the best we can.
I find it important to take some time out alone each day – even if it is just for 5 minutes – to just sit, relax, give thanks for what you have, and try to cultivate a sense of peace and contentment. I have been trying to incorporate more quiet, meditative time into my days during the past few months, and it helps me to focus on what I really want – to see the “big picture” of my life rather than just feeling like life is a series of goals and steps to accomplish each week, month, or year. We all need personal goals to work towards, but it is just as important to find joy in the little things each day and be kind to yourself. Dream your dream, live your dream, and let go of the outcome. Enjoy the process and the journey!


To learn and see more of Stephanie please visit her at:



15 comments:

Jenny Wynter said...

I really enjoyed this interview, thanks so much. The photos of the kids painting as well are lovely and it's so cool to get a peek into how an average day runs. I'm a performer/mummy (still an artist, I guess, just not a visual one!) but still this all really resonated with me. Thank you! x

stephanie levy said...

Thank you so much Dana! I'm so honored to be a guest on your beautiful blog today :)

xoxo
Stephanie

cypress sun said...

thank you stephanie & dana! i'm so inspired by these interviews.

Eva / Sycamore Street Press said...

Love this interview! As an expectant first time mom who runs my own creative business, I'm wondering how I'm going to fit it all in. I guess you just figure out what works for you and do the best you can!

pinkbathtub said...

Wonderful interview and I especially love the last paragraph.

Leaves and Feathers said...

Great interview, it is always so encouraging to hear how other mama-artists make it work! I am also happy to have discovered your work on Flickr, very pretty, and your beautiful blog!

onlythedance said...

I so enjoy Stephanie's work and lifestyle, as reflected in her blog. This interview gave even more insight, along with being both comforting and very inspiring. and yeah, I cherish that last paragraph.
Thanks for putting this out there.
Adelia

Mousy Brown said...

Brilliant Dana - Thanks so much xx

jacqueline said...

Dearest DANA, this is really amazingly inspiring! I really truely enjoy this interview lots especially since i am a fan of stephanie's work. Thank you so much for sharing this and having such an inspiring column! Have a lovely merry happy day and love to you!

Carissa said...

Hi Dana, I'm really enjoying this series! I'm such a fan of Stephanie's work... to hear her interview is very inspiring. I'm not a mama yet, but I still resonate with everything being shared. Thank you!

xo,
carissa

AG Ambroult said...

Oh how I love learning of and about artists I hadn't know before. Stephanie's work is absolutely delightful and I am looking forward to visiting her sites.
Loved her words about the big pictures, as I definitely tend to focus too much on that to do list, rather than zooming out and scanning the horizon.

Kim Klassen said...

i am a huge fan of stephanie's art....and this interview made me love her even more...

wonderful in every way...

wonderful feature dana!!

xxo, kim

Amelia said...

such a great interview and person to interview - lovely work!!

Amelia.x

graceandivy said...

I really love reading these interviews! Thank you for sharing them. As a art biz mama too, I find such comfort in hearing how it is for other similar mamas. The land of blogs has brought me such amazing support and inspiration! I love your artwork. I recently discovered collage and it is a real joy!! Keep up your fabulous work! xo

Inner Toddler said...

I'm so glad you're doing this series! Stephanie is very inspiring and I love her work. There are many art biz mamas out there doing so much great work with great success in a quarter of the time...