An Interview with Celeste Clark
Hey lovely, tell us a little about your life and who you are
I’m Celeste! I am an artist based out of Dallas, Texas - and when I say artist, I’m not just talking painter. Photography, fashion, interior design, outdoors & nature, any medium.. You name it, I’m curious about it and pursue whatever my mind makes up in that area! I’m married to my best friend, Andrew, who is my biggest cheerleader and butt-kicker when it comes to my craft. And We have our first little boy joining us very soon! It’s a delightfully simple life.
When did you first start painting? Did you know right away that watercolor is your favorite medium?
I’ve drawn/painted since I can remember. My dad is an artist, so we would spend evenings at the kitchen table illustrating caricatures - I remember tracing his lines so they could be as perfect as his. My sisters are artists as well, so I would find myself doing the same with them on Sundays at church, drawing instead of listening.. Hah! I didn’t find my love for watercolor until highschool, actually. My first and true love in art was pencil drawing real-life portraits. They are extremely complicated to perfect and can take up to years to make! But I came across watercolor after receiving a pallet as a gift. I have quite literally never turned back since! I posted a picture of a portrait I painted on facebook not expecting much of a reaction.. and it blew up like wildfire! That was the start of my business.
How did you decide to turn painting into a business? How long did it take to turn your business into a full time job?
When I didn’t have enough time in the day to paint the orders that were coming in. I felt confident that I was getting enough orders to pay off my bills for the month, so I quit my teaching job and just took the leap. For the first little while, I did work for free because I didn’t think it was necessary for people to pay me.. I was just doing what I loved! Then I noticed it taking up more hours each day and I thought I may be worth someone’s pennies.. So why not give it a shot! That’s what the American dream is all about! So with that said, there was a lot of overlapping time where I painted on the side for free for years. Once that “wildfire” moment happened, I bit the bullet and transitioned to a full time artist about a year later.
What is your favorite thing to paint? What is your favorite piece you’ve created?
I still love painting/illustrating real life portraits but don’t have much time to do that for fun anymore. I’m really proud of my first ever watercolor made in highshool portrait I did of Jesus. I’m also proud of “The Creator” I listed in my shop about a year ago.. Basically anything plant life, I love!
What inspires you?
Too many things! It comes in different ways every single day. The way nature stands, the architecture in old homes, the old rusting colors of a city building, other artists from different mediums… literally anything can speak to my mind and register as artwork. Like yesterday, I was driving past a huge cow pasture by my parent’s house and found myself staring at the rolling yellow hills of hay and hundreds of black cows roaming. I thought it was beautiful. Weird? Probably, but that’s just how my brain works :)
Where would you like to see your business go in the future? Big picture plans?
I hope to continue to progress! Each year there’s something new and exciting that unexpectedly happens so I just go with where the wind takes me. I’m very blessed to call what I love my job, so I sure hope to pursue this work for the rest of my life. I’d love to expand into clothing or visual directing somehow to broaden my horizons a bit!
Along your journey to success, did you ever feel like giving up? Are there difficult times running your own business?
Oh gosh, every day is difficult! I always think, if I’m comfortable, I’m not progressing. If I’m stressed, I’m progressing. Might not make sense for others, but it works for me. Being your own boss and owning your own business can be extremely taxing and there’s a big weight on your shoulders to keep the wheels turning - especially as a small family or married couple. Thankfully, my husband is very supportive of my work and believes I am and can be successful, that’s a huge advantage. It’s a scary line to cross, being an entrepreneur. And not to mention, the copy cats really throw a wrench in the works. But as long as I stay true to myself and my brand, I will grow higher than that and ultimately will be happier.
What advice do you have for other aspiring artists who have dreams to make their small business a full time career?
I think all of my answers above were tiny bits of advice… stay genuine! Be true to you, and love what you do. Like REALLY love what you do. Don’t do it for the money, do it for the passion and the better of the world. And make sure you’re happy in the process, otherwise you’re asking for a trainwreck in the end. Also, give yourself some slack, you aren’t perfect. Trial and error is what life is all about :) And lastly, be kind because why the heeeck not?!