We had the good fortune of connecting with Lucy Reiser and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Lucy, we’d love to start by asking you about lessons learned. Is there a lesson you can share with us?
We really have very little control over just about everything. Aside from showing up and doing the work to the very best of your ability, you have no control over how it is received (for better or for worse). Take the good times as a gift and lean into what works, but don’t take the difficult times too personally. For as long as you are making work you’re proud of and are adding good and beautiful things to the world, stay the course!

Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I’m an abstract impressionist painter making art that offers an invitation into a place of beauty, adventure, and rest. My main subjects are landscapes, botanicals, and abstracts – I find each of those things endlessly fascinating.

I went to GCSU and graduated with a degree in studio art in 2014 (I never got around to adding that business or education minor). I knew I wanted to pursue art as a job and that in order to do that I needed to develop a disciplined creative practice. Almost immediately after finishing my senior capstone exhibit, I made a deal with a local coffee shop to display a brand new collection of paintings there, so that I had a hard deadline to work towards and a level of accountability. My professor and mentor made it very clear that prioritizing the time actually painting (regardless of whether or not anyone is buying it) was imperative to building any kind of consistent and successful work. A few of those paintings from the coffee shop sold which was helpful encouragement, too.

After I graduated I taught high school art for three months, filling in during a maternity leave. I loved my time teaching, but as that job was finishing up I decided to see if I could make an income selling my paintings. I had a few commissions here and there and babysat a whole lot to pay the bills. I also had family and friends throughout Atlanta, including someone who worked at a gallery I admired. She introduced me to the owner and they agreed to take a couple paintings in on a trial basis to see if anything would sell. I did this a few more times with them before they offered me representation, which as a 22 or 23 year old, was very affirming! Though my work has expanded beyond just this gallery now, I still work with them today and will always be thankful for the chance they took on me early on.

In the following five years I expanded to do much more online business including originals, prints, licensing, and online courses for painting and creative business development. The growth of the business has certainly had its highs and lows and has been far more complex than I ever thought it would be starting out, but also better and much more exciting. As I continue to grow not only my art, but the business, I keep coming back to the fact that every single thing I offer has that same purpose: to invite everyone who cares to follow along into a place of beauty, adventure, and rest.

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I should start by saying I haven’t been an Atlanta resident for a few years now so I’m already feeling self-conscious that my recommendations are a bit dated, but I’ll do my best… Also pay no mind to commute times between these destinations. This is going to be a food-centric itinerary, so let’s dive in. For starters, we will have a giant breakfast at either West Egg or Highland Bakery. After breakfast, we will lazily stroll around the surrounding shops until we’re feeling mobile again and ready to be a little active. Next, we will either take a long walk around Piedmont Park or the Beltline. When it’s lunch time we will get something delicious at Upbeet before popping over to the High Museum. I love seeing the latest exhibit at the High and visiting some of their permanent collection, particularly the Anselm Kiefer painting, Drache, and Alex Katz’s work. That evening, we’ll grab a bottle of wine and feast on a pizza or two at Antico before going to an Atlanta United game.

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I have so many people who help me tremendously every day. A huge thank you to my parents who allowed me to be an art major and also didn’t let me move in with them after college. That was a helpful motivator. My husband/unpaid intern who loves a good spreadsheet, gives me helpful critique *when I ask for it*, and listens to me whine about the woes of doing simple math every tax season. And the ladies I’m in a mastermind with have been unbelievably encouraging and helpful along the way. Having people to share ideas with and ask for feedback has been a game changer.

Website: lucyreiser.com

Instagram: @lucyreiser

Image Credits
Rachael McIntosh

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