We first ran across the artistic creations of Evelyn Henson on Instagram, where we were instantly captured by her bright florals and perfect prints. Let’s be honest, looking for the perfect art for our apartments and work spaces is a serious search, so when we find an artist that can capture and keep our eye we want to share her with the world – and that is precisely what we are doing! Not only did Evelyn take a leap of faith into being an artist, but she has made it a success, which is a wonderful wonderful thing for our spaces.
Tell us about the start of your shop – what inspired you to open and how did you get there?
I stumbled into painting my senior year of college after two friends gifted me a massive box of craft paints! (and by gifted, I mean they were moving out and didn’t want to throw them away, haha!). So I just started painting with them. My friends kept encouraging me to sell it, so I opened a small shop on Etsy a week after graduating from college in 2013. I was totally overwhelmed by “the real world” and had no idea where to start in the job hunt. Art became my outlet. After a few months, the popularity of the bar cart prints (and especially the map series that eventually followed) motivated me to pursue art full time. Thankfully I have a very supportive family as well.
Your creations are so bright, colorful and happy! Where do you draw inspiration from?
Honestly, everyday life. It’s like Picasso said: “inspiration exists but it has to find you working.” The more I paint, the more it changes and brightens the way I see life. I’m constantly taking note of random, mundane things (objects, colors, patterns, etc.) and illustrating them. One of my best-sellers came from a cliche my dad said to me one morning: “take the bull by the horns.” Five years ago I wouldn’t have thought twice about it, but, because I’m constantly painting, the saying immediately struck a chord with me.
On a painting day what can we find you wearing and listening to in the studio?
My current uniform consists of leggings and a t-shirt haha! I keep it pretty casual since I do a lot of painting. Usually, I’m listening to Taylor Swift on repeat, but lately I’ve been listening to more audiobooks. Last week was Amy Poehler’s Yes Please, and this week is Station Eleven. If I paint on the weekend, there’s usually some sort of Netflix marathon happening in the background.
We see the phrase “A Brightly Decorated Life” all over your site, tell us about what that means to you.
I coined the term “brightly decorated life” to describe all the little things that brighten your day—–all the inessential essentials that just make everything better. I think most of us can agree that to do lists are, for whatever reason, way more fun in a colorful notebook, and pouring coffee into your favorite mug is just the best thing ever. Having a brightly decorated life just means you appreciate and celebrate all those little everyday things.
What challenges have you faced as a twenty-something business owner, and how have you overcome them?
For me, it’s not having a boss or coworker to turn to when I need help or advice. I had no idea what I was doing when I first started selling art: prints were constantly getting damaged in the mail because I didn’t know how to ship them correctly, I would accept projects I knew I wasn’t a good fit for, and don’t even get me started on accounting. I felt overwhelmed, clueless, and not quite sure what to do or who to ask. Now I’m better about researching, reading books, and connecting with other creatives so I can both avoid mistakes and know how to respond when they arise. I also always try to view my mistakes as a learning process.
What word describes the twenty-something decade?
How do you recharge your creative batteries when you are feeling drained?
Any change of scenery will do the trick: a workout, a walk with my dog, a good book, or (my personal favorite) Netflix!
Who do you go to when you need guidance?
It depends on what I need help with. I turn to my Dad for all my serious business and legal questions, but I text my sisters and friends for the creative side of things! I’ll poll them to see what their favorite items are before I launch anything—their favorites are usually the best-sellers, so it helps me edit and refine a new collection.
What advice do you have for twenty-somethings who would like to start their own business, or take the first step towards following their passions?
Just start and immerse yourself in whatever your doing. If you want to be an artist, start sharing your work on Instagram. If you want to write, start a blog. It probably won’t be good at first (at least my first drawings certainly weren’t), but if you keep working to develop your own unique vision, success will eventually follow.
Give us three fun facts about you that we wouldn’t know from your site and social media accounts!
I’m a triplet, I can probably quote every line from NBC’s The Office, and I have a 4lb yorkie named Rocky who sleeps 24/7!
What was the first creation that you sold?
My friend Kelsey bought a painting of mine off Etsy. It was two 16×20 coral, orange, and gold abstracts that were meant to be hung together.
For more work by Evelyn check out EvelynHenson.com