All images courtesy of Avner Road Photography.
Today I am so excited to introduce Kaitlin Noverr, the creative entrepreneur and abstract artist behind elysian market. Kaitlin and I first connected on Instagram at the beginning of the year through a Rising Tide Society Instagram Challenge (hello, #communityovercompetition!), and I've loved keeping up with her work and every step of her creative journey.
What I love most about Kaitlin's story is the fact that she's come full circle and stuck with a self-declaration that she made years ago: to commit her life to her art. It's not easy to say "no" to the societal pressure of diving into a 9-to-5, but Kaitlin has done so with grace and understanding.
Kaitlin recently launched her website for elysian market, along with her brand-new "Evolve" collection, which you'll get to hear more about below!
Q: Share a bit of your story with us: what events in your life led to you pursuing a career in abstract art and painting, and what has most recently changed and evolved for elysian market in 2017?
A: From a young age, art has always been my escape away from reading, writing, numbers and dyslexia. Though I did very well throughout my schooling and college, I had to work extremely hard. Like many other twenty-something-year-olds, I felt the societal pressure to get a degree that would be safe and expectable. After much consideration, I decided to get my degree in Marketing from Western Michigan University. Throughout college I had a three-year paid internship with a Fortune 500 company and met the love of my life, Travis.
In December of 2013 I graduated, and followed Travis for his new job in Cincinnati, OH. Throughout the following months in combination with applying for jobs, I did a great deal of soul searching. I haven’t told many people this, but I made a self-declaration to myself in June that I would follow my dream of being an artist and small business owner. That was a pivotal moment, or so I thought. A couple weeks later I received a phone call from a business I had interviewed with, and they offered me a marketing event planning role. Instead of staying true to my self-declaration, I decided to go with societal expectations and said yes.
"I haven’t told many people this, but I made a self-declaration to myself in June that I would follow my dream of being an artist and small business owner."
I was there for about a year, and every day I thought more and more about my soul’s true calling, and how I needed to follow it. With the love and support of Travis I ended that chapter on May 31st, 2015 and it allowed me the opportunity to figure out the next step of this self-declaration. The rest of 2015 was dedicated to soul-searching, researching, and travel.
In January of 2016 I decided that I would launch my Etsy shop in August, and knew there was no going back. After the launch of my shop and throughout the rest of the year, I participated in numerous art shows, pop-ups, and hosted my first ever workshop.
This year has already brought me many new opportunities that I’m extremely grateful for, and also accomplished one of my biggest intentions on June 1 – the launch of my new website and “Evolve” collection.
Q: I always have to ask! What does your workday routine and workflow look like, and how do you manage to work productively while running your creative business?
A: Though I’m the epitome of a Type A personality, I actually don’t have a “true” workday routine. As a workaholic, I of course have a to-do list for actions and intentions I want to complete for the day. However, there are only three things that actually stay consistent on a daily basis: countless cups of coffee, frisbee sections with my studio assistant, Hemi (my pup), and nightly walks with Travis and Hemi.
I believe I manage to work productively because I was brought up with two loving parents and sisters that not only told me the meaning of hard work, but showed it. They instilled in me a deep-seated passion to chase after my wildest dreams, drive to continue to push through the hardships, and above all else the importance of helping others along the way. I believe all of these different traits play a role in the day-to-day work of a small business owner.
Q: Where do you look to for inspiration when starting on a new piece of art? What are your go-to tactics for avoiding burnout and artist’s block?
A: My inspiration comes from a couple places. First, there is nature. The different physical elements play their role: trees, water, clouds, flowers, etc. However, the inspiration that nature provides for my work goes to a far deeper level. It shows me the delicate balance between light and darkness, organic movement, and the daily reminder that true growth takes time.
The second place where my inspiration comes from is self-awareness. Meditation helps me listen and be open to what is next for my work. An example of this would be that when I first started my Etsy shop all the colors I choose where very bold and bright. Now, don’t get me wrong I love bold and bright colors. However, after much thought on why I did this I realized it was because I wanted my art to “wow” people, and I thought that was the way I could do that successfully. After coming to this conclusion and growing as an artist over the past year, I realized that my work resonated with people beyond just the colors. I want the connection between the viewers and my art to be authentic and stand on its own, which is why you will see more neutral tones in the new “Evolve” collection.
I’ll be completely honest: avoiding burnout as a small business owner and artist is one that I have not yet conquered. To me, it is hard to balance the high demands of owning your own business with self-care. I’m sure that many of your readers can relate to this no matter what profession or stage of life they are in. Life’s balancing act can be extremely exhausting and leave you filling up everyone else’s cup rather than your own.
However, I believe that our minds and bodies try and communicate to us when we need a break. Sometimes that means a quick five-minute break, while other times it means a whole weekend. We owe it to ourselves to give ourselves that time and not feel guilty about it. For when we honor and respect our mind, body, and soul it will repay us in the best way.
Q: What’s one preconceived notion about your industry or work that you’d love to debunk? Now’s the time to set the record straight!
A: I believe that many people don’t always fully understand how much work, time, and most importantly love goes into running a small business. I would explain my art as my soul’s expression coming to life in a physical form. Though the end product is for the world to resonate with, admire, and keep, the process of creating it is very personal. Our society is prone to looking at price tags and comparing it to similar mass produced products at a large retailer. However, we must never forget that the reason why those products can be priced that way; the human element is nowhere to be found. I can’t adequately describe how happy I get when I hear from my clients, “I want the pieces I have surrounding me in my home to hold a deeper, and more profound impact on this world.”
Q: What are a few of your biggest ambitions for elysian market this year, and which goals have you already hit?
A: My biggest goal for elysian market in 2017 was to launch my own website where my art could live and do so freely. After many months of hard work, intention, and pouring my heart into this endeavor, I’m excited that this goal was reached!
My big ambitions for elysian market for the back half of the year would be to continue to authentically connect with people through my art. Second, take part in a prestigious abstract art gallery show. Third, continue to mentor other artists and creatives to help grow a more supportive community. Lastly, I have been working with some larger companies on some exciting projects in regards to my art, and I would love to continue to expand into new partnerships and connections.
Q: What would your biggest piece of advice be for fellow women looking to break into and succeed in the creative industry?
A: Some people believe that you choose this entrepreneurial life. While I believe that holds some merit, I also believe that this life chooses you. It might not be in your 20s, 30s, and it might not come to you until you are in your 60s. However, you owe it to yourself and everyone around you to listen and chase after your soul’s calling. I will leave you with this quote I wrote in my journal after deciding to take this daunting leap: