We had the good fortune of connecting with Abigail Carter and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Abigail, other than deciding to work for yourself, what was the single most important decision you made that contributed to your success?
When I began painting, I was very much focused on the end goal. I wanted to make beautiful art AND I wanted to be successful. To me, that meant making lots of money and having art galleries knocking on my door. But the more I painted, the less I began to care about these things. Selling your own work is a very loaded prospect. It’s tied up with your own ego, who you are as a person, a society that frowns upon over self-promotion or being *too* successful. It’s OK to make money and be successful as long as you’re humble about it. And so I just quietly continued to produce art. I let go of where it might take me, success-wise. After a while, I didn’t really even care if it made me a ton of money. I did it to keep my sanity. I did it to fill time during a pandemic. I did it because all those colors made me so darned happy! And then I got brave enough to post a painting or two on my social media and my paintings seemed to make other people happy too. And so, responses on social media became my success gauge. When people began asking me where they could buy my art, I created a website and found a place that would reproduce my art as prints. I began selling the originals to friends. Now, I’m selling my art in a gallery and online. I’m not raking in the dough by any means, but I’m paying for my art supplies. And perhaps, little by little, the money will come. So in the end, the single most important thing I did that contributed to my success was redefining what success meant for me. I let go of trying to make a ton of money and focused instead on making myself and others happy.
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.
Right now, my art still feels like a fledgling. I’ve sold a few works, all to friends. I now have a few pieces hanging in a gallery where I pay a small fee to be there. I have my work on my website where they are for sale. My painting began as a sort of catharsis after a break-up. A way of taking back a part of my home that had been occupied by my partner but was now vacant. It made a perfect art studio. And so I bought a few paints and an easel and began to paint, something I hadn’t done since college. The challenge has been really about getting out of my own way. Not judging myself. Reminding myself that painting was just meant to be an exercise in letting go and having fun. There was no end game. I watched a bunch of YouTube videos for inspiration and then paid a little to take a few online courses. I signed up for a week-long in-person painting retreat in Bali. All just meant to have fun and teach me new techniques. Honestly, I’m still too fledgling to have a brand or a story, so I just keep trying to have fun, hoping that in some way it comes across in my art. I just want to find joy as I paint and my hope is that that same will bring joy to those who view my work.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
There are so many things to do in Seattle. – A ferry to Bainbridge and a walk into to town for some delicious baked goods. – An afternoon wandering Pike Place Market and watching the fish-throwers. Maybe a coffee (or tea in my case) at the original Starbucks. – A late lunch at Taylor’s Oyster bar – A shopping day in Fremont – A morning watching boats at the Ballard Locks – In spring, a long wander around Discovery Park beach to view all the sea creatures. – Lunch on Vashon Island and a walk on the beach to the Robertson’s Lighthouse
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
To get back in the art game, I watched a lot of youtube videos. My favorite artists online: https://tracyverdugo.com/ https://florabowley.com/ https://robertburridge.com/ https://www.art2life.com/ And my most prolific supporters: Michele Neff Hernandez and everyone in the Camp Widow world.