We had the good fortune of connecting with TJ Reese and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi TJ, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
Me deciding to start my business was a decision based upon my unhappiness working for a corporation. I wanted to cultivate a means by which I could sustain myself financially without the necessity of punching in and out everyday. I’m still building my business to this point; however, the journey is well worth it and a huge learning experience. I was also spurred by the engagement I would get on my artwork and the amount of people that were willing to spend their money on pieces that I created.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
Regarding my artwork, what I’m most proud of is my originality. I always strive to stand out and be as creatively skilled as possible with each piece. I want my work to be seen and for people to know off top, “TJ Reese created this. No one else has the capacity to do so.” I’m still cultivating my career into what I want it to be. I’m nowhere near the level of artistic or financial success I’d like to be at; however, where I currently am definitely came with some doubt and discouragement along the way. Doubting my work being good enough to sell, doubting I could really grow to the point of being financial free without the means of a traditional job, even now doubt seeps in but it isn’t granted the privilege of staying. I just do the work. I draw and draw. I promote my business. I engage with my audience. It’s slow going, but when you’re in the midst of it you don’t notice. My focus is stronger than my self-doubt, and I pray it stays that way. That’s what you need, though. You need to turn yourself into the person or artist that you wish to be. If the you who is successful draws daily, records his sales and promotes, then the you right now needs to establish those practices. It’s hard no doubt but worth it. I just want people to know that my work is an extension of my soul. I want them to see it and know that they’ve learned something about me through it. Making a living from my passion is amazing, but just having one in the first place is priceless.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I’m not big on being out in the city; although, I’d like to make my way out there much more. I’d definitely take my friend to the High Museum. If they don’t have it where they’re visiting from, then I’ll for sure be taking them to Waffle House. That’s a must. There’s a joint called Insomnia Cookies that is to die for as well. And a place I personally need to go which I would for sure take my friend is Big Dave’s. Slutty Vegan is also on that list! I also have a few quaint parks that I’d like to have them visit just to get away from the canopies of buildings for a bit.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
My mother, Beverly Andrews, definitely deserves the utmost flowers. She believed in my dream of being an artist before I was even serious about it. Even when I was first starting out and obviously not too good, she encouraged me to keep going and never once fed doubt into my mind. My friends also deserve their flowers. Ettione, DaChaun, Tevien, Devin, Jaelan just to name a few. They always find ways to support me, and that is a huge motivator to keep pushing to achieve the goals I have set forth for myself.