A CHAT WITH PAIGE POPPE

I first discovered the lovely Paige Poppe on YouTube last summer after a bout of art block and a pretty standard creative slump. I was immediately drawn to the dreamy pinks and yellows of her watercolor landscapes and succulent paintings.
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Photo by Jamie Hyatt
Paige’s exuberant personality paired perfectly with the whimsical style of her art and within less than a minute, I had subscribed. While I had followed other artists in the past, Paige’s channel was the most raw and captivating I had ever come across.
I had the opportunity to speak to Paige a bit about her art and creative process, and just as expected, her responses were absolutely incredible.

1) Okay, so I know it’s a bit existential to ask, so feel free to interpret it however you’d like, but Who are you?
 
At my core, I am a creator. I create in any circumstance, and am most fulfilled when I am able to work with my hands and bring my ideas to life. I am also an optimist, am super nostalgic, love to spend time with my family + close friends, and at the end of the day I am a total goof. I don’t take myself too seriously, which has proved to be very useful in a career where I have to rely on myself for all the answers!
 
2) Your art style is very unique and distinguishable. How did you get to that point? Was it a natural process or something more forced?
Why thank you! That is so sweet + I am glad you think so. To answer your question, it was such a natural process. I used to watercolor paint nature scenes when I was 11 or 12, but lost touch with that style. When I first started sharing my artwork online and taking commissions, my style was more of a classic tattoo style, believe it or not! I used to do a ton of line work, with very bold pieces and everything surrounded by black oil paint lines. I was primarily creating custom skateboards at the time, so that style of artwork suited skateboards as a canvas.
It wasn’t until I took a watercolor class during architecture school that I started to reconnect with the medium.
In March of the following year, I released my “Technicolor Botanical” © Collection, which is my growing collection of rainbow, colorful cacti + botanical pieces. This collection was so spontaneous. I was home in Arizona on spring break, and actually painted half of the pieces by the pool! I had been living in California + Copenhagen, Denmark for school, and my eyes started opening to the beauty of the Sonoran desert. So when I released this collection, it really clicked with me. I was very proud of the paintings, and my audience responded really well to them. I took this new fascination with watercolor +my re-discovery of my home state and ran with it.

 “If you are hiding your passions, talents, or personality from the world, you are doing yourself and others a disservice”

-Paige Poppe

 
3) I’m always thoroughly intrigued by the creative processes of people who are constantly creating. How do you manage to always stay inspired enough to crank out new pieces day after day?
This one is hard for me to find an answer to, because in a way, it’s just how my brain works! I always have new ideas and my hands often can’t work as fast as my mind to create them!
To give some advice though, one thing I have realized is how important it is for me to have my studio space clean, organized, and stocked with paint + paper so that there’s nothing that holds me back from creating. Even if I have a ton of ideas, executing them becomes difficult if my desk is messy and I can’t just sit down and paint. I have had weeks where I only do computer work because my studio is too messy and I can’t easily begin a new piece. When I realized that was happening, I knew I had to make more of an effort to keep my area organized!
 
4) You’re incredibly active on social media, specifically on your Instagram and YouTube, (the vessel I found your work through). How do you think the world of social media has impacted your work, process, and clientele? 
 
Social media has affected my work in 2 main ways. The first being that it is how most of my clients find me, so it is a crucial part of my business! The best part is that they can get to know my art + style, so they know we are a good fit before reaching out. Instagram and Youtube are the
most visual platforms I use, and connect me to the most people. This is the second way social media affects how I work. It is so fun to be able to have an audience to speak to and interact with, especially because I am at home working alone most days of the week. I love that I can pull out my phone or post a vlog and talk to these friends, and here back from them. It’s especially interactive on Snapchat, because we can send videos back and forth, I just love it!
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Photo by Connor Dougherty
I should also mention a 3rd impact that social media has on my work, which is documentation. I love that I am able to scroll through my feeds of photos or videos and see how my art has progressed. It helps me see the seasons of my life + artwork as a bigger picture, which affects my art process and ideation.
 
5) What are you truly passionate about?
 
I am truly passionate about bringing my vision to life. One of the best parts of having my art becoming by business is that I’ve had more time + opportunity to create, create, create. I am so grateful to h
ave this time because I get to paint + design so often, which results in a larger body of work. I am passionate about getting all of the ideas in my head onto paper. This motivates me to keep going and continue to work hard, because I want to share and create far into the future!
 
6) What advice do you have for those trying to get into art or to make their hobby into a career?
 
I think more people should get into art as a hobby if it interests them. There are many studies that show how painting and art-making is stress-relieving. I totally agree with this, and find art-making to be very meditative. I am not a very stressed out person myself, and I think my career has something to do with that!
My advice to those trying to make their hobby into a career, I would encourage you to not be afraid to put yourself out there. Then, once you get comfortable sharing online, it is important to stay consistent in both creating art + sharing the art. Your audience will start to count on you to see new work + post online, and staying consistent will help them trust that you will be there, every day, sharing your work with them. Building this audience has been very important to my career as an artist. At first I just wanted to connect with people, and still do, but when I realized I wanted to pursue art full-time, it became even more important to show up online every day because they are the ones collecting my art and hiring me for commissions.
 
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Photo by Connor Dougherty

7) And finally, what is a message you’d like to put out to the world, (or our readers)?

 
Be bold, be bright. Seems cliche I know, but I will explain. If you are hiding your passions, talents, or personality from the world, you are doing yourself and others a disservice. Being bold and sharing what you have to offer will not only light others up, but it will be extremely rewarding for yourself…at least that has been my experience. It is really exponential. The more I share, the more joy I find. I am able to connect with more people, make really awesome friends, work on dream projects. When you’re just starting out it’s really difficult to imagine all of the opportunities that come from sharing your talents, but I would really encourage anyone reading to put themselves out there and be patient.
Don’t forget to check out Paige’s Instagram and Twitter, as well as her online shop to pick up some of her work!
Thank you again to Paige for working with us!

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