Family Info: Mom of 4 girls and & wife to a husband (who is also her #1 art fan)
Name of Business: Caroline O'Callaghan Art
What inspired you to become an artist?
With my girls getting older and more independent, my days were growing longer. I went from a mom of four running in circles raising my kids, renovating houses, doing part-time work and volunteering. Then suddenly there were stretches of the day I needed to fill. I needed something more. Call it ‘almost’ empty nest syndrome .. whatever it was I am thankful for the push it gave me. We need to let our lives evolve and let ourselves keep growing.
Where did your journey as an artist begin? Where are you now?
I have painted since I can remember. Always feeling connected to the lines and layout of design and architecture. Studying studio art in college led to further studies in New York City, and work at House Beautiful magazine and then a Madison Avenue design firm. This exposed me to more color and design inspo than I could ever have imagined. I spent a lot of late nights after work painting & color mixing for classes I was taking. Though educated in art and art history, I am primarily a self taught painter. So much of painting style is intuitive and comes from exploring processes and materials. Some is trial and error, and often experimenting leads to a rhythm and flow. So, if anyone has the inclination to paint, pick up some art supplies and give it a go. If it doesn’t go anywhere at least you'll have fun!
And that’s what I did. I was in a small design store years ago in Larchmont, a shop I still adore and now hang my art for sale. But it was there years ago, after staring at an abstract painting I loved, painted by an emerging artist who is now well known, I thought.. I want to paint abstracts. In the days, months and years that followed I researched everything about the business of art.. material, processes, backgrounds of local artists I admired. And quickly realized a lot of artists had similar backgrounds to mine in creative fields.
So after gathering lots of information and inspiration, I bought some large canvases along with some paints I had, even house paint, and just went at it and painted for hours with what came to my mind. I realized what I loved most was creating, preferring the freedom of abstracts to realistic painting.
Though I had no idea what anyone would think of of these paintings. So I showed my girls, showed my sisters and mom, and then when brave enough showed a few friends. I had the paintings in my car when I passed a large design shop I loved in town. Where there is usually no parking, there was a big empty space 3 car lengths long right in front. So I took it as a sign. I went in with a couple of canvases and asked for an honest opinion. It would be an understatement to say it was beyond thrilling when they took a few to sell. The next stops.. a gallery in Greenwich then a gallery in Darien, and down the line to Westport.. they all took a couple, and I was in business.
What drives your business?
Keeping up relationships with clients is easy because I adore them all. It is such a happy business to be a part of and a special relationship creating art for others. The process is both humbling and an honor. Some weeks are spent painting then other weeks are devoted to the business end. And most weeks a lot of both. Delivering, shipping, communicating with my retailers and clients is all week every week. It’s amazing the percentage of your time that goes toward the business end of art rather than time just painting. As with any business you need to keep it moving forward. You can paint all day but if you aren’t out selling, these canvases will take over your space quickly.
You make owning an art business sound really fun and seamless! Do you have any advice for other entrepreneurs?
I would never say that art is an easy business, it sounds more glamorous than the hard work it is. But I truly love it. It’s like nothing else I’ve ever experienced. Sometimes you just need to dig deep and find what’s beneath your surface. You may be surprised!
You can follow Caroline at https://www.instagram.com/caroline.o.art/