Girl Boss Series: Evelyn Henson {Artist}

Her Story

Hey y’all! My name is Evelyn and I'm an illustrator who paints art and gifts for a more brightly decorated life, where we celebrate the little things and spark kindness wherever we go! I grew up in Columbus, GA and have always loved all things creative, but never dreamed I would be working as an actual artist! As a child, I used to spend all my time inventing stories on my grandmother's typewriter and drawing stories for them with markers. In middle school, I discovered Microsoft Paint (a really basic version of Photoshop or Illustrator for anyone who didn't grow up in the 90s!) and made over 1,000 different patterned designs to use for homemade birthday cards, class PowerPoint’s, binder covers, whatever! I loved making cards for friends and used to dream of what I would name my future stationery store. I would tell you the imaginary names for these stores, but one of them is still, to this day, my password (to some things anyway!). When I got to college, I had no idea what I wanted to major in. I tried English because I loved writing and thought it would be cool to work for a magazine. Then I wandered over to the Art major, but I was too intimidated by the classes to pursue it; I unfortunately didn't have the confidence at the time. I wish I had, but I was too nervous to even volunteer to paint banners for my sorority at that age. I ended up deciding to major in Art History (and later double in Communication Studies). I love studying art so it was a dream! Slowly, I started to paint quotes on canvases for fun in my free time. And then, the summer before my Senior Year, two of my friends who were older than me and moving out after graduation walked over to my apartment one day and offered to give me a massive box of craft paints. I looked at the colors and decided to paint my mom some flowers for Mother's Day. I basically haven't put down the paintbrush since. I painted with those cheap Walmart craft paints every day: flowers, perfume bottles, landscapes, and birds, whatever I could think of. And by the time I graduated the following May, I had drawers upon drawers of artwork. My friends had begun asking if I would ever sell the things I was painting, and as I packed up all the art, I started to think about opening an Etsy shop. No one was responding to my job applications at the time and was desperate for a distraction. So, a week after my college graduation, I officially opened my Etsy shop! I had moved back in with my parents and remember bringing my laptop downstairs because I wanted my mom to proofread my "about" page. I was SO nervous. Within the hour, my friends all started buying my art. I still can't believe it; that they meant it when they asked if I could buy my art! Still, the Etsy shop was not immediately something I could do full time. Throughout the summer, I contemplated getting a job at an art gallery or museum or applying to art school. I almost went to SCAD that Fall, but my Dad asked me why I wanted to do that when I was already making money selling my work. With that, I decided to pursue my art full time. I stayed at home with my parents for a full year and devoted 110% of my time to getting my art business going. Somewhere along the way, it turned into something I could do full time. It's crazy to look back on the fact that I was once afraid to even study Art, and here I am now doing it full time; that I was once afraid to raise my hand, and now I not only raise my hand for opportunities, but also chase after them. 

 

How She Got Started

I got started on Etsy. I had nothing but cheap 99-cent acrylic craft paints from Walmart at the time. I worked hard and made what I had work. The encouragement I received from friends and family inspired me the most. It meant a lot to have their support. I was also inspired by two other artists who graduated from my high school 4-5 years before me: Teil Duncan and Lulie Wallace. Pinterest came out when I was in college, and I had been pinning all the pretty paintings to one of my boards. One day, I realized that I knew two of the artists I was pinning. I couldn't believe it; that two girls who were so similar to me as far (as upbringing/background goes) were out there killing it as artists. I kept thinking to myself "wait, what!? They’re working as artists?!" I never thought of that as something I could actually pursue. Even when I was contemplating majoring in art, I thought it would just lead to graphic design, or teaching or something; not painting full time! Seeing them as artists is what first made me envision that as something I could do myself. 

 

Evelyn's Role Models

The perhaps boring but also most truthful answer is my parents. I really admire them--specifically how hard they both work and the kindness they always show everyone in the world; no matter who they are or where they're from. 

Aside from my parents, I also love Reese Witherspoon. I think of her as someone who brings so much sunshine to the world, and that's something I aspire to do as well. 

 

A Day in the Life

The hours I work totally varies! Today I worked from 9 and am still working as I type this at 8:00 pm. I typically try to work from 8:30-4:30 Monday-Thursday and from 11-4pm on Friday. Sometimes it's less, sometimes it's more, and I do occasionally pop into my studio on Saturdays. It depends on what's going on. That's perhaps the low of the profession; there's no clocking out! I'm passionate about what I do and I have to actively not think about it 24/7. There's immense pressure and responsibility that comes with working for yourself. There's so much to do and you're the one in charge of making the decisions---which is great when the decision is whether or not to go to the beach, but otherwise it can sometimes be a lot of stress. 

The high is painting! I love being surrounded by art and creating it. It's fun and makes me so happy. I love getting to share the sunshine I see in the world with others; that's especially rewarding for me. 

 

Years in Business

I officially launched by Etsy shop in May 2013 so I have been doing this for 5 1/2 years now! However, I've been doing art related things my whole life.

 

Social Media Handles

Instagram: @evelyn_henson

Facebook: facebook.com/evelynhenson

Pinterest: pinterest.com/evelynhenson


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