We had the good fortune of connecting with Simone Elum and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Simone, what role has risk played in your life or career?
The risks that have had the biggest influence on my life, are the ones that involved moving to a new place. When I graduated from college, instead of moving to the closest city and starting a life there, I chose to drive across the country with my husband, from Georgia to California. We had no real job prospects or a place to live yet, but we truly believed that we had to try and if we didn’t go then, we would probably never take the chance again. It was definitely scary, but I do remember feeling hopeful and having a strong conviction that it was where we were supposed to be. I have had so many wonderful opportunities every time I’ve moved to an unfamiliar place. I’ve met my husband, worked with some really amazing and talented people and traveled to places that ‘10 year old me’ wouldn’t have thought was possible. I also saw the possibilities that my artistic ability could bring. Even though some risks didn’t work out, the ones that did work out gave me the courage to continue to take leaps of faith, growing and learning from mistakes and recognizing what steps to take next on my journey.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I am a contemporary artist with a focus on Abstract portraits and Figurative art inspired by Women, Fashion, Film and Music. I use inks, watercolor and gouache combined with digital painting techniques to create my work. I would like my art to inspire women to see themselves in a positive way and to create inspiring, stylish and feminine living or work spaces for them. One of the most memorable moments I had starting out as an artist, was being asked by a local magazine to draw ‘live’ for the first time. I turned it down because I was afraid I wasn’t going to be good at it. That part was not my proudest moment. However, after talking it over with my husband, I reached out to that magazine and asked them if I could do another live event, and thankfully they said yes! I did the event and it went so well, that other businesses were reaching out to me to do more live events! I am proud of myself for being brave enough to do something that I had never done before. I am excited about recently working with my husband to create a Virtual 3D Art Gallery of my work for people to see my work in a new interactive way. With so many people not being able to go to Galleries, Museums and Art shows in the way they used to (due to Covid19), I thought it would be a fun way for people to experience art from the comfort of their home. You can sign up to experience this Virtual Art Gallery on my website www.simoneelum.com. Something I’ve learned during this journey as an artist is that it’s better to start even when you haven’t figured everything out. Wanting everything to be perfect without any mistakes, will stop you from making art, from sharing your gift with the world and from growing as an artist. You have to allow yourself to try and fail versus not trying at all. Use those paints, mess up that giant canvas you’ve had in a corner for too long, try something that may not turn out beautiful. The ‘ugly’ art is necessary to get to the beautiful work that you are proud of.
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 am definitely a homebody and like to spend most of my time in the studio creating. However, some places I would recommend for inspiration and relaxation in Atlanta are The High Museum, Piedmont Park, Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area, Swan House and SCAD Fash Museum.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I wouldn’t be where I am today, without the love and support of my mother. She deserves so much credit for encouraging me to try different things and waiting patiently to see what I naturally gravitated to. Whatever I was interested in, my mother did her best to make sure I had the tools, the classes and the encouragement I needed. I still have the Prismacolor pencils she bought when I was 17! She never discouraged me from following a creative career. A lot of creatives don’t have that kind of support so I’m very grateful that I had her support from a young age.
Charles E. Elum Jr.