Open Call: Jessie Breakwell
I’m really excited to share Jessie Breakwell’s art with you today. Her paintings are fun, energetic, loaded with colour and guaranteed to make you smile!
Jessie managed to pack in her 9 to 5 job, and has turned her talent into a successful online business. She’s given us a look around her Melbourne studio, explained what she’s learned along the way, and shared her tips for starting up your own business.
What led you to start your own business?
I was always going to be an artist. Some of my earliest memories are of my late mother creating around me. She was a wonderful, smart and creative woman who inspired me to follow my passion.
The art room was always my favourite place at school, and when I left I did “the Right Thing” and undertook a fine arts degree. Whilst I gained a lot from it, I always thought that fine art and formal training was actually a distraction from my art.
In the 10 years since university I have done some amazing things, but just hadn’t found what I loved. Going back to my favourite thing, and deciding to make a living out of was scary but so exciting. I knew I just had to throw everything into it.
So I started painting again, found my audience, quit my 9 to 5 and here I am. Happy!
What has been most difficult?
Like most creative people trying to turn their passion into a business, I struggle to balance the art with admin. I understand that I need to be a businessperson in order to succeed, but the art does always seem to dominate my time. Understanding how to balance the two elements has been a very important lesson – as has knowing when to delegate! Handing over control of what is essentially a really personal experience (selling my artwork) was the best and hardest thing I’ve ever done.
How do you get your work seen by customers or retailers?
I’ve been lucky to have a ready audience relatively quickly. Interest in my work started organically and has blossomed since then, particularly online and through social media. Social media is a god-send!
I don’t even have a physical gallery space now, as I find the online audience has been so receptive. It’s been a revelation in my career and I find that being online-only allows me to manage my time better, and focus on what I need to do.
Any tips and advice to people starting out?
It’s completely clichéd I know, BUT unless you believe you can do it then you won’t do it. I have seen this before and fallen into the trap myself earlier in my career, but over-promising or going in a direction that doesn’t feel right won’t work. If you don’t believe it no one else will either.
What has been most successful about the business?
For me, the most important success story of my business is that I am able to do what I love, and to share it with my family and friends too. I have a beautiful daughter Olive, and I am really glad that I am able to be around to spend quality time with her, rather than stuck in an office job!
Every sale makes me excited, grateful and a little bit proud too. My art means so much to me, but to know that my artwork resonates with a complete stranger too, and they want to actually take something I’ve created home and hang it on their wall – well, that blows me away! Art has always been my life, but now it’s my living too. And how many people get to say that about their work?
Jessie online: www.jessiebreakwell.com.au
Jessie’s instagram: jessiebreakwellgallery