It was a pleasure featuring Akaimi the Artist through our my B.O.B. campaign on Instagram! We want you to know the vision and purpose behind the business. Through our blog, we can dig deeper into the stories and give you a fuller perspective!
Akaimi the Artist started her business unexpectedly in December 2013. She was diagnosed with Leukemia and had to begin chemotherapy. In order to help cope mentally with this life-changing event, Akaimi returned to an old passion, painting. She started selling her portraits on Facebook and ended up selling every single one. Shortly after in 2014, she decided to open a studio and gallery. However, she was forced to shut down due to personal reasons. That didn't stop her though! She took her business fully online and hasn't looked back.
You shared that your business was started after your diagnosis of Leukemia and you returned to painting. Were you always an artist? What made you stop the first time?
I knew from the age of 5, when asked my kindergarten class was asked what we all wanted to be when we grew up. I recall drawing a little portrait of myself with five short nubs for fingers, and a green artist's beret covering my head. I've always been able to draw freehand, before receiving any formal training, and I've worked in creative fields my entire life. My first career was as a hairstylist and makeup artist. I became licensed right out of high school. I suffered an injury to my hand, and decided to pursue a degree in another field in order to have something else to "fall back on". After taking an aptitude test for college entry, my greatest skills were in creative writing and graphic design. I chose graphic design, which led me down the fine art and illustration path.
What specifically about painting is therapeutic for you?
Painting is very meditative for me. I'm focused on the small details, like blending colors and making shapes, rather than the big picture. Similarly, painting and being creative, allows my brain to focus on something other than my pain and illness. It gives my mind and soul a break from "the big picture" so to speak.
When you sold out of your initial paintings on Facebook, what was your thought and action process for launching your business?
I never considered launching a business. It was something that just happened. I was working in the kitchen of my tiny apartment, and my paintings began to take over the walls and closet space. I decided to search for a studio space, and lucked upon a beautiful spot in an old remodeled warehouse in Downtown San Antonio. The crisp, white wall space reminded me more of a gallery, and that's literally how I wound up opening a gallery. I was astounded by the number of people who showed up to my opening, which attendees found under "What's Happening Nearby" on Facebook. The support of family and friends was the real motivation for me to continue.
What's the best part about being an artist?
I love the ability to touch other people's lives in a positive way. I rarely give my interpretation of pieces, as I'd rather not impose my meaning. Two people can look at the same painting and analyze it two completely different ways. For me, that's the beauty of art; it's not rigid like a science. There's more than one answer, and many shades of gray in an otherwise black and white universe. The best part of being an artist? It's never being wrong.
What advice do you have for another artistic person seeking a path into entrepreneurship?
The best advice I have to give is to maintain consistency. Do something to focus on your creative passion every day. Set aside at least an hour per day, whether it's researching other influential people in your field, writing your own blog, reading books on your subject, painting/drawing/sewing/soap making- whatever your passion is--stick to it, and do it consistently. Then, share what you've learned with the rest of the world via social media and marketplaces. They are your best advertising and networking resources.
Make sure to check out Akaimi the Artist and her full line of artwork here. It was such a pleasure learning more about Akaimi's story and we wish her continued success!