We had the good fortune of connecting with CM Addams and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi CM, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
Honestly and truly? The quote from Lemony Snicket, “If you wait until you’re ready, you’ll be waiting for the rest of your life.” I always dreamed of owning my own business and making a living off my art, but just didn’t know where to begin. I always fought with anxiety and my own doubts and decided one day to just jump in head first and learn along the way. I might’ve looked silly to some. I even had better off artists and business owners shake their heads at me like I was some amateur just wishing. But after much trial and error, I learned my audience, business tactics and even made friends who were helpful along the way. The journey was rough but I learned so much and found my very own aesthetic that makes my art truly unique to myself. Even now I know I still have a long way to go, but I don’t regret jumping into the waters and learning to swim with the current. I don’t think any of us are ever truly “ready” and just have to take that leap of faith.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I’ve been drawing for as long as I could hold a pencil. I grew up as a quiet and shy kid, but my thoughts and dreams were always loud and vibrant. I quickly attached myself to drawing and writing because that was the best way I knew how to express my true thoughts and feelings. Growing up as a 90’s kid, I was obsessed with many different art styles and techniques. From the bright and vibrant colors of Lisa Frank, fantasy worlds and creatures of Amy Brown, to fast paced animation such as the PowerPuff Girls. I would draw fairies, mermaids, and cool chicks of all sorts, hoping to one day be like my idols. As I became a teen, I began lurking around the internet and discovered the online art community as began posting my own work frequently. This is probably when I began to realize that art was “my thing” because I felt truly at home with my fellow creatives and were able to give each other pointers and tips to better our craft. At one point I did hit a huge wall of depression and temporarily put my art supplies away. This was such a dark era of my life because I felt like I had no real purpose. Art was all I ever known and nothing else brought joy into my life like my art did. I did get into alternative modeling, which was fun and got me lots of opportunities, but quickly became a chore after how shallow and handsy some of my clients were. I still model from time to time, but now I do it for myself and for fun. I got back on track with my art when I got back into college and got accepted into their art program. Here I was once again reconnected with like minded people with similar goals and interests. I fell back in love with my art, improved tremendously, and one fateful day in 2017 I woke up and asked myself, “Hey, remember how you wanted to start putting your work on bookmarks, keychains and eventually publish a graphic novel? Why wait until you graduate? Start NOW!” I remember my hands shaking when I put in applications for various conventions and art markets. I was so scared of rejection, but I knew nothing would change if I kept sitting on my butt and letting my anxiety run my life. The first few years were so hard. I was juggling being a full time student, running my art business, and also working a regular part time job to pay the bills. There were days I was running on two hours of sleep and Monster Javas. I almost quit a few times. But that light at the end of the tunnel was SO close. I knew I had to keep pushing forward, And I did. Even if I burnt out a few times along the way. I eventually graduated with my Bachelors in Fine Arts winter of 2019 with a minor in Graphic Design. It felt like I finally crossed that finish line. But that was the finish line for level one. Now I was out in the real world and I had to make people see me in a vast ocean of many others hoping for the same thing. I got my streak of luck when my art went viral on Tiktok. It still feels so surreal to this day on how it began. I just uploaded another progress video on some paintings, went to bed, and thought nothing of it. The next day my phone was blowing up with so many people following me, buying my work and even sharing it with others. It was very encouraging and humbling because to me, this was proof that people ARE interested in my work and what I have to say through it. But you have to keep going. It’s easy getting starry eyed when you first get that first grasp of fame. It’s like a plant. You got to keep nurturing, pruning, watering, and be grateful for it every day, or else it can whither away as quickly as it came into your life.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Ohh man, the real question is where WOULDN’T we go? I always loved hole in the wall places with a cool aesthetics such as Bone Garden Cantina and Reboot Retrocade & Bar. Of course I can’t help but give a shoutout to The Bakery at East Point for having such a unique environment and community. Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
Honestly all the little people at various conventions, pop up markets, exhibits, and bar shows. They have been nothing but welcoming, encouraging, and hyped me up when no one else would. I especially want to give a shoutout to certain gaming taverns such as Battle and Brew in Sandy Springs, GA and GT South in Montgomery, AL. I remember shaking in my boots during my first exhibit, but the community was so welcoming, they quickly made me feel like I was among friends that I knew for years, despite being there for only one night. I left smiling from ear to ear and had so many new friend requests the next morning. To me, it’s more than just networking or expanding my name. It’s about true bonds with people with like minded interests and goals. I couldn’t be more grateful to these communities.