We had the good fortune of connecting with Heather Eck and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Heather, what role has risk played in your life or career?
I don’t think there is a single person out there who would consider me a ‘risk taker’ and yet I took one of the biggest risks of my life when I left my full-time job as an HR Manager at a prestigious video game company in the middle of their largest financial success in history. And yet, I did it.
I have been working since I was 14 in jobs at the local state fair, clothing stores, and even Walmart. When I graduated college, I took a job working at a well-known credit card company. I was making more money at age 22 than even my parents made, and yet every single day I felt worn out, exhausted, and like something was missing. Fast forward about 15 years later and I’m now a Mom, married, and starting a new HR job. I felt the kind of tired that sleep couldn’t fix and I was becoming increasingly agitated over the littlest things at both home and work. I sought the help of a spiritual teacher, Myrna, who reminded me that as a child I was incredibly artistic and creative. I had always been creative; I was a little bit of a jack of all trades; I could just pick things up and run with it. I played guitar, piano, wrote, acted, sang, draw – but I gave those things up little by little to pursue a full-time job.
After speaking with Myrna, and being shown the possibilities that awaited me if I stepped forward into those gifts I had left behind, I dove in. Over the next few years, I began to develop a portfolio of art. Each little door that opened, I walked through it. One day, I was given a pretty significant raise and a promotion. That very night I was offered an opportunity to showcase my artwork at a First Friday event the following month. I was more excited about my first solo show than I was about this huge paycheck that fell into my lap. That’s when I knew. If I stayed in this job that drained me, paid me, but drained me – I was destined for misery.
After countless talks with my supportive, albeit nervous husband, we decided that I would transition out of my fulltime job and take the chance for me to pursue my passion as a professional artist. Well, the universe had some different timing in mind. I went into talk to my boss who accepted my resignation with just two weeks notice. I was suddenly, overwhelmingly out of work – with no paycheck and no bonuses coming in via direct deposit. I was suddenly, overwhelmingly terrified.
It was a huge risk. But I knew it was the right risk. It took a few months for me to figure out what my new life was like as a professional artist. WIthout the structure of the 9 to 5 job I felt free – but I also felt confused. I didn’t know what to do with this new found freedom and I felt scared that there wouldn’t be any money.
Opportunities began to open up for me – and I walked through the door of every single one that opened. They were calculated risks, but they began to pay off. Now, in the sophomore year of running my art business, I take different kinds of risks in my artwork, in my marketing and in how I manage my schedule. But if it weren’t for the leap I took into art-trepeneurship, I wouldn’t be where I am today. I just scheduled my first solo GALLERY show. Nearly 4 years after my first solo First Friday show. That’s huge for an emerging artist. I’m grateful for the opportunities my corporate life afforded me. I feel grateful that I’m an artist who has a business background because it comes in handy nearly every day.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
Over the course of my lifetime, I’ve answered the calling to nurture and instill joy in those around me. As a clairsentient, one with the psychic gift and ability to intuit information through clear feeling, I am drawn to connect with people, helping them heal, feel joy, and live in their truth, all of which brings much of the same to me since acknowledging her purpose-driven role of the artist.
From childhood, I formed a deep love for doodling and sketching and had an innate ability to see and sense the world through color. My tendencies for forming human bonds and connections naturally swayed me into career positions in which I served as both guide and counselor. With a degree in Human Resources, I flourished in my HR roles in the corporate world, even earning a certificate in International Coaching. From one position to the next, the recurring patterns of opportunity to bring joy and comfort served as a sign of things to come but also left me unfulfilled. I sought ways to express myself creatively; playing guitar in coffee shops, writing poetry, and participating in open mics. While I enjoyed these outlets, they were devoid of deeper meaning and not enough to counterbalance the uniformity and restrictive paradigms, from clothing to language, that I felt.
With our young son, and hoping to exchange the pace of New York and New Jersey, we moved to North Carolina in 2014. I took an HR management position with Epic Games. There, surrounded by creatives, and like the jobs that preceded, being close to creatives and creativity served as “a cheat” for my own creative fulfillment. It wasn’t until my friend and spiritual teacher Myrna opened a dialogue about path and purpose with me, telling me “…you’re an artist, art is your gift” that I would awaken to the idea of serving others through art. That same day, I embraced it, bought art supplies, and let the metaphoric “steam out” to begin my work.
Today, as a dedicated, full-time artist, I engage with clients and viewers alike in deep and meaningful ways through my art. My colorful canvas paintings connect by color meaning to the 7 Chakras of the body and are created from messages which I intuit from my own spirit guide about the person for whom I create. For the receiver, the paintings are powerful, guidance about spiritual areas that require healing and light, while they can also serve as a type of portrait of one’s spiritual energy. Many of my paintings are also more loosely about spiritual awakening and themed expressions of spiritual thought.
I create commissioned paintings and exhibit in venues around the US.
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?
I would start my day with a Smoothie from Juice Vibes located in Cary, NC. Their fruit and veggie smoothies are delicious and healthy and a perfect way to start the day.
One of my favorite places to visit is the outdoor art park at the North Carolina Museum of Art. The Ann and Jim Goodnight Museum Park connects art, nature, and people to encourage creative experiences and human interactions. It features temporary and permanent public art installations by international artists, environmentally sustainable landscapes, colorful and contemporary gardens, miles of recreational trails, and a terraced pond.
Grab a Poke bowl at Raleigh Raw in downtown Raleigh, and then hit up some local brews at Raleigh Times. Then swing by Poolside Pies and snack on some delicious wood-fired pizza.
Wrap up the night with some ice cream at Mama Birds, in Holly Springs! Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I am blessed to be surrounded by many incredible people who have been such huge supporters of my growing gift; my husband, who loves and accepts me for who I am, my loving family & friends, my amazing teacher Myrna, my dear friend Amy, the largest private collector in America, and our incredible Saturday morning group – you know who you are. Thank you for your love and encouragement and your occasional, but always necessary, butt-kicking.
Other: Get behind the scenes look at new work, get free art lessons and more at https://www.facebook.com/groups/733776107232428
Photos by Traci Huffman