“All children, except one, grow up.” J.M. Barrie’s famous opening line to his novel Peter Pan, may, perhaps, foreshadow the key behind the success of this artist’s career.
Stacy Lovejoy always knew she wanted to be an artist, but not until her adult life did she realize that in order to do so, she would have to travel back to her childhood to draw inspiration.
“It is interesting because when I was a child, I used to tell my mom I was going to be an artist, and she thought that it was just a hobby — but when I grew up, she thought maybe it’s true,” Lovejoy said.
Originally from Russia, Lovejoy received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in architecture from Moscow Architectural Institute. She moved to Portland, Oregon, in 2014 after realizing that architecture did not allow her to fully explore her creativity and art. She left her job at an architectural firm in Russia, and since then, she has dedicated her time to becoming a professional artist.
Her journey toward becoming a full-time artist developed as a result of the relationships she formed with those in the art world in her community. They played a crucial role in creating a network of fellow artists and potential gallerists.
“I started to do my art at home and then started going to galleries and talked to gallery owners, and they became some of my friends. They started telling me, ‘You can do this,’” Lovejoy said.
Her artistic style can be described as whimsical, colorful and bold. She said that her artwork transports her to her childhood: A simpler time in which she could enjoy the little things in life by playing in nature, experiencing the world and its happiness.
As a full-time artist, she faces the realities of balancing art-making and having a profitable income. However, at the time of creating art, she advises artists to forget about the money and just focus on making art, otherwise they can experience a creative block.
Although Lovejoy doesn’t have a specific business strategy, she is able to sustain herself as an artist by channeling her art into different mediums to ultimately create a variety of products to sell.
“I don’t have any business strategies because I don’t think they are one and the same. But at the same time, I am trying to create other things like temporary tattoos, jewelry and projects like that, that help me support myself,” she said.
During her time as an independent artist she has learned that being social is the number one key to being successful. Doing artwork at home without anyone ever seeing it will not aid you in starting your career; start by talking to people and socializing, she said.
With more than 1,000 followers on Instagram, and active Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest pages, Lovejoy uses social media as the basis for promoting her artwork.
“Post every day of what you are currently working on or something from the past, because if you do not post regularly, followers will forget about you. It is possible to post every day. You are an established artist and an interesting person,” she said.
Lovejoy also spends time giving back by volunteering in her community, and through that she’s explored new art fields that interest her, like art therapy. In the last couple of years, she has volunteered with children’s cancer centers and orphanages, making art projects and creating stories and costumes for the kids.
“I feel that art therapy has a positive effect on children because they forget about their challenges and just have fun,” she said. Inspired by her visits to the clinics, she created a particular piece called, Laughter Donors, where she hoped to, in some level, provide healing to the viewer.
With a touch of inspiration, a sprinkle of kindness and a whole lot of positivity and hard work, Lovejoy hopes to bring out the inner child in everyone through her art. After all, it’s not only Peter Pan who wishes to never grow up.
“I am trying to inspire people. Do some good things and help each other. I am trying to wake people’s inner child,” she said.
For more information about Lovejoy, visit her website (stacylovejoy.com). If you are in Portland, in the month of April, you can see her art at the “Life is a Game” exhibition at Basic Space Gallery (www.basicspacegallery.com) until April 29 and Portland Design Week (2016.designweekportland.com) from April 15 to April 23.