secret life of art
Behind every brand there is a pair of hands and a vulnerable heart. We often lose sight of the fact that no matter how big a brand seems online; it is still a person on the other side of the screen pouring their heart into each artwork, illustration or branding project.
It has been around 3 or 4 years since I started sharing my ink drawings with the world as an illustrator, but it has been a lifetime of work that has gone into my craft. Drawing is simply an extension of my heart and forms the epitome of my love language. My Maria Magdalena brand has not only grown as a business over the past few years, but has irrevocably changed me as a person. It has forced me to face myself fully in the mirror and to unleash every insecurity, fear or perceived flaw.
Today, I share my heart and hands behind the scenes with the help of an immensely talented photographer from the United Kingdom, Lydia Harper. I happened across her Instagram profile a while ago and we started a conversation. While she was traveling through South Africa she reached out to me to possibly set up a little photoshoot of my artworks and me. The most important thing I have learnt through owning a creative business is that people only connect to your art through you. It is you they want to get to know and once they understand you better, they understand your art.
Lydia was an absolute joy to meet and I adored getting to know her a bit better. We spoke about life as a creative entrepreneur – the struggles, the joys, the ups and the downs. It is always refreshing to get to know a fiercely talented fellow female creative from a different country that is unafraid of having an open and honest conversation about the life we have chosen to lead. I felt so comfortable with her and we braved the cold, misty winter morning together. I admire Lydia’s ability to capture soul, emotion and something truly unique in her photographs and am so honoured to be a part of her South African series. You can read my full interview with her here.
Everything I create has a story behind it: an emotion, a song, a poem or simply something that I am dreaming of. Every fine art print available online is custom printed, hand embossed, hand signed, hand packaged and shipped off to their new families with a hand written note from me. There is no one else behind the scenes. Every order goes through me. Every little detail from the packaging, the photography, the styling, the website, the social media posts, the answers to your questions, and whatever else is taking place – it is all me. It takes years of research, failures and reinvention to keep a creative business alive and to ensure that it will be sustainable.
As an artist I am the creator, the entrepreneur, the manager, the customer service, the face of the brand and the worker bee. I am working with a business coach to further grow my business and I am so excited to see where that leads. For now, I know that I am incredibly proud of how far I have come and really hope that if I do ever expand, it will still remain my heart and hands at the realm to write every single little note to each person who honours me with a purchase. Every order I receive still sends me into a little happy dance.
Without the support from my followers, clients, family and friends, there would be no business to speak of. So many people have had a part and hand in how far I have come and I forever honour their role in my journey as an artist. Thank you!
Photographer: Lydia Harper
Linen Kimono: Wass
Artist: Maria Magdalena