We had the good fortune of connecting with Billie Summers and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Billie, what role has risk played in your life or career?
Originally, I thought that risk taking was solely a characteristic of entrepreneurs, someone passionate about economics, finance, and/or business management. It was annoying though because I wasn’t interested in any of those paths. Like at all. However, those characteristics were always attributed to business owners or someone hoping to one day start a Fortune 500. Throughout high school and even a little of college, I took way too many business oriented courses to appease my family, I guess? While growing as an artist though, risk-taking kind of began ruling my life. Today, I define risk as choosing something, that in the end may have been the worst decision, ever. And I mean ever, close to choosing the wrong entree at a restaurant and you end up hating it. With that definition, I most certainly have benefited and suffered from risk-taking! I took a huge risk deciding to study abroad, ironically 2 years before the biggest pandemic to hit the world though. Still though, a risk that has shaped who I am completely. It’s so sad I can’t be traveling more now! But I’ll hold onto those experiences forever. Now on the other hand, choosing to be an artist as a career? Could be the worst and most dangerous decision I have made thus far, or it could be the best and most rewarding. I try my best to stay positive in that choosing to be an artist professionally was the right decision for me. I’m still currently on my artistic journey as a career, and I have bad days when I’m a lot more negative, so we will see. I wouldn’t know if I didn’t try. So this is me trying.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
Well, I’m really not sure if I’m classified as “professionally,” I certainly do not feel as such. Personally, there’s so much more I have to learn, not only as an artist, but a marketer. So I guess I could start there, learning to market yourself is oh so difficult and challenging. To emphasize further, marketing in person versus online are two very different directions. I have never been super into social media, I felt like it was somewhat intrusive and mildly… narcissistic? However, today, it holds so much importance to be active on social media! It is very overwhelming, because understanding the algorithm of each platform is very time consuming and pressuring to adopt the widest and most diverse following. I definitely prefer marketing myself and work in person, because connecting to my following and others is the best tool for diversifying my work and services. I have learned though the importance of perseverance. I feel as though without perseverance that many decisions would be pointless and choice would be obsolete. As far as what I would want the world to know about my brand new story is that I’m trying. I think the hard experiences in growth often go unheard, but effort is just so meaningful. Waking up every morning and getting out of bed, just to brush your teeth and try to be your best self, is a kickass thing to do that deserves more credit than it does now.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Ahhh! This is such a great question because my two best friends are coming to visit in September!!!!!!! First off, I’m going to harass them to death, I’m so so excited to see them. The pandemic has been way to geologically decisive. I need my friends!! But seriously though, I have to take them to Cookout. Hear me out- their milkshakes? Like nothing else on earth. Afterwards, take them to Little Five Points. I think Little Five Points is literally the coolest place ever! Gentrified for sure, but an interesting away of people and businesses to explore. Then lastly, Piedmont Park, it’s so spacious that you can sit a good distance away from people while still enjoying its surroundings.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Wow, so many! Just to make a few, definitely my professors, friends, and boyfriend. They’ve been super supportive in me living comfortably in who I am and how I interact with the world both on an academic and artistic level. My art teacher from Spain was absolutely amazing. His passion for art history was so fascinating and contagious, before then, I had never appreciated art as much as I learned to. I developed a wide range of Artistic favorites, who have also been incredibly relevant in my artist journey such as Dali, Basquiat, Velazquez, and Goya.
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