We had the good fortune of connecting with Julie Waterkotte and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Julie, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
I love creating and I love running with ideas. I used to work in the video game industry for EA Sports, which was great but also exhausting. Often times at the start of the project I would be fired up with new ideas and wanting to showcase them and implement them into the project. By the time the game was released I was disappointing that all the really cool ideas got art directed to death and the final product was no where near it started and some amazing ideas and artwork were stifled. I started working freelance on the side of my normal gig just so I could have a creative outlet that wouldn’t get art directed to death and it has never stopped, it actually has grown! I enjoy being able to not only create what I want on a daily basis, but offer others the chance to do that. I mean how rewarding! The power to create and giving others the confidence to not only create but allow themselves to get caught up in the moment to create is something powerful. So for me, it not only becomes empowering to myself to be able to release my artist, but so rewarding to be able to offer that gift to others as well. To bring confidence in someone while they create.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I love my work! I started out my career as a graphic designer working in the video game industry, so I have a ton of computer knowledge, marketing, design, and love technology!!!!!! lol I said I love it right? 🙂 That allowed me to see and experience and be at the forefront of so many things artistically. I love new designs, new thinking about design and seeing what I can do to push the envelope.
I HAVE ALWAYS LOVED AND CREATED ART SINCE i WAS A SMALL CHILD. Art has come easily to me, however I am more of a logical thinker and like everything very organized, maybe even a lil OCD with certain things. I have to challenge myself sometimes to come up with new ideas that are a lil off the wall or something I wouldn’t normally think about. I have always loved offbeat things, steampunk, tattoos, horror movies, astrology and just non mainstream things. I can be girly and mainstream all day long and Im not saying I don’t enjoy or like that, but my passion is what I just mentioned.
I have learned that just being myself is enough. I can like what I like, create and offer it to the world. My audience that gets me and enjoys me for me will keep coming back and I have learned that not everyone is for everyone! I have something unique to bring to the table that people get to experience, and that is unique. It has taken me a while to get to that point mentally thinking, but now that I am here I am never looking back 🙂
It is just trials and tribulation and “DOING IT” that has pushed me ahead. You learn from what doesn’t work and build upon that. Take the experiences that are good and are positive and keep doing those 🙂 Be humble…learn…learn…learn as much as you can and continue growing. Give out to the world and people what you want to give back to you. I truly believe I am creating a better place through art and what it brings to people’s souls, even if they don’t realize it at the time.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Oh snap! My best friend is here? Ok well then let’s head on down to Main Street to a lil coffee shop called Carters Coffeehouse where they make the BEST drinks ever! I talk about the milk tea with boba literally every day and am obsessed with it, so we would have to head there and get loaded up on one of those before we did ANYTHING! Next us girls would have to go grab breakfast, because who can do “all the things” without a lil food in our bellies? Thyme Square would be the place we would hit up to fill our bellies. The charcuterie omelet is to die for and their whole menu is amazing with the farm to table experience! Whew!
Now time to hit up the downtown boutiques and do a lil thrift shopping to find some treasures! I mean what girl crew doesn’t like shopping? When that is taken care of we would load the boat and head out on the river for some fun in the sun on the Mississippi River. We might just relax and soak of the rays on the sand beach, cruise up and down river looking at the barges, or partake in some fishing. If vising in the summer we would watch the ski water show and even enjoy some tubing.
With many local eateries that offer so many amazing food choices this could be hard! Red Light Bar and grill has some amazing American Food surrounded by a live band atmosphere, or we could hit up Thai or Seol food restaurants to try something different. BBQ in my town is top notch as well and catfish can not be cooked better anywhere else I am pretty sure about! 🙂
If you love the great outdoors and need to get moving after eating all the amazing food, Quincy has a ton of outdoor hiking grounds, parks and outdoor activities like a batting cage, skatepark and more. One of my favorite activities is walking the scenic South Park Creek, enjoying the view of the water and the ancient trees.
Visitors to my hometown would find the Old Brewery interesting and can check out the underground tunnels that not only brought beer barrels up from the might Mississippi back in the day. They do tours yearly and also have a history museum to show off old pieces from the brewery. It’s quite fascinating.
Quincy also has some of the most amazing Victorian architecture. The residential areas of Quincy provide examples of every style of Victorian home, from Queen Anne to Italianate Revival styles
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
Oh my gosh, love this question! There are so many people along my journey that have been instrumental in my success. The 1st person in my life was Lori Shephard, my high school art teacher who taught me that being different and having offbeat ideas was just totally OK. She always was that person that was encouraging my art, my thoughts and what I was doing, she believed in me and just her whole demeanor was peaceful and encouraging. She was always entering my art into contests and helping me look for art colleges and pushing me to go explore the world! I landed acceptance into art school in Chicago because of her help with my portfolio and that launched a whole new world for me, as I was leaving a very small midwestern farm town.
In anyone’s success you are only as good as the people you surround yourself with. In the last 8 years I have been fortunate enough to have a great group of 3 ladies by my side as well as my life partner. My story is one of perseverance and coming back from the ashes. I am a survivor of domestic abuse from my ex husband and a 12 year marriage that left my soul shattered, my confidence gone, and was just surviving. I started painting to have a happy place, a release from all the negative that was going on in my life at the moment and it became something that brought me back out of my shell and allowed me to start feeling joy again, eventually giving me confidence in myself again, and then getting me back out into the world again. After attending a few paint nights in my local area in Texas I was hooked and wanted to teach people myself. It was so much fun to go and then to help people with their paintings!
I joined a worldwide paint party group to learn more about teaching for paint parties and the business side of it. Everyday I got to log in, chat with others, bounce ideas off others and learn new techniques from Social Media Marketing, what paintings are popular, how to paint something and so on. That is where I met Julie, Susan and Debbie. I believe I did a logo for the ladies and we just connected! We literally talk every day, like every day!!!!!! Imagine having your gal group who always has your side every single day. We all bring something so unique to the table and can recognize each others unique differences and encourage each other. We challenge each other, we inspire each other, we are there for each other. They are my sisters and I have never even met one of them in person, yet they have been an amazing support team, my bestest of best friends, and I consider them family. I am so blessed to have them in my corner.
And last but not least is Robert, my life partner and as I like to call him, my rock. We have known each other from childhood and reconnected when I moved back to my hometown after my divorce. We share many hardship stories from life and where I felt like I was drowning from mine, he came out even stronger from his. Not only the love of my life, He is my biggest supporter in all things in life. He challenges me in ways that help me to grow as a person. We have many late night chats about literally everything. He challenges my mind, which is pretty awesome and gets me to see the larger picture or how there are 2 different ways of thinking about literally everything. He’s been my sounding board for all my ideas, my biggest encourager/supporter, my mental thought strategist, my best friend and my confidant. He has given me the strength and courage to pick myself back up and conquer anything I set my mind to. It’s that gentle yet strong kind of love that makes you feel like a badass, builds you up and lets you spread your wings.
My support system is made up of normal people that have helped me rise back from the ashes. They are the unsung heroes of my life, that might not even know how much of an impact they have made.