We had the good fortune of connecting with Stacey Combs and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Stacey, why did you decide to pursue a creative path?
Creating artwork makes me feel important. Valid. Useful. Talentful. Like I can be heard. Like I can help (both myself and others). It’s something that I have to do. It makes me a better person, and makes me want to be a better person. I give my career everything, but it’s worth it to be able to do what I love… on my own terms.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
It hasn’t been an easy journey. I spent 12 years in a career that didn’t fit before I got fed up enough to follow my dream of working for myself creatively. Honestly, the hardest part has been learning how to do everything! As a one-woman show, I’m a designer, creator, customer service rep, salesperson, shipping coordinator, accountant, marketing manager, web designer, and more. I can’t say that I’ve totally overcome it, but I’m always learning and do really enjoy it. I think that the three biggest lessons that I’ve learned are: – Don’t undervalue your work, even starting out. It devalues the industry – Take breaks when you need them. Even if they end up lasting weeks. – If it doesn’t feel good, don’t do it. It seems odd to say, but when you’re following your passion… you have to follow your passion. I’m a lot happier when I’m creating art that I’m connected with and invested in, and I think it shows.
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.
It’s hard to think of doing things outside of COVID! My favorite thing to do, especially during the pandemic, is hiking in our state parks. Minnesota is so beautiful, and the parks are very well-kept. The three things that I miss most from pre-pandemic Minneapolis are going to shows at First Avenue & Icehouse, hanging out at Kyatchi & eating sustainably sourced sushi, and doing art markets at Bauhaus Brew Labs.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I would not be where I am today without my husband, Ryan Mach. Aside from having a seemingly endless supply of love and encouragement for me (which, believe me, I’ve tested), he is a self-employed musician. Because of that, we can relate to each other in ways that really helps both of us in our careers. He is incredibly driven, and that really inspires me to do better and push myself!
Keith Miesel (photo of Stacey)