Q&A: What advice would you give to your younger self?

Living fully in the moment helps spawn creativity, but a little reflection every now and again also prepares us for a bright future. Which is why we asked Minted artists Amy Lighthall and Kim Dietrich Elam to answer the question, “What advice would you give to your younger self?” These two artists have come a long way since their beginnings as artists — Kim actually started her working life as an engineer.

Amy Lighthall
Amy’s Minted Artist Store

Trust that things will work out the way they should and at the right time. And, have patience in my art business.

This is a really tricky question for me to answer because I think all my experiences, both good and bad, have influenced me and my art business along the way. I have learned so much from creating, selling, and marketing my art over the years, and I’m still learning new things daily.

Magic Stones” limited edition print by Amy Lighthall

When I started my business, I remember getting discouraged by how much time and effort I put into my work compared to the sales I was getting. There were so many artists and art online. I would question how I could make a living from my art. In the second year of my business, in 2013, I decided to make my word for the year be “trust.” This single word had such a big impact on my outlook and was a constant reminder for me to trust that where I was in my art and business was where I was supposed to be.

I really believe that success happens when it’s supposed to and when we are ready for it. If I ever felt discouraged that success wasn’t happening fast enough, I would think back to that word and let it give me a sense of peace. The word “trust” continues to be my word and puts me in a positive mind frame. If I could tell my younger self anything, I would tell myself to trust that you are on the right path and that success will come at the right time. I would also tell my younger self to have patience in my business, because it takes a lot of time and effort to build. With lots of patience and hard work, my business grows year after year, which is so amazing to me. I’m so thankful that I decided to trust, and not quit, my creative business in the earlier years.

Blue Flowing Watercolor” limited edition art print by Amy Lighthall

Kim Dietrich Elam
Cincinnati, Ohio
Kim’s Minted Artist Store
Portrait by David L. Dietrich

Enjoy the critique.

Critiques are important — reviewers catch mistakes (hopefully), lead us in new directions, and help us to learn and grow. Throughout my careers — as both an engineer and a stationery designer — I have been lucky to have some very talented colleagues to review my designs. Knowing that I was fortunate to receive these critiques didn’t change my initial thoughts and reactions when receiving them — denial (“They are wrong!”), defensive posturing (“But I did it this way because…”) and frustration (“Ugh. They are right, but I don’t know how to fix it”). Of course, after working through iterations of edits to address the comments, even my younger engineer-self realized that, because my talented friends lent me a critical eye, my work was much improved…but it would have been nice to skip the defensive feelings and comments, and go straight to feeling and looking appreciative.

Risque Initial” bridal shower invitation by Kim Dietrich Elam

One of my favorite designs helped by great critique is my “Risque Initial” bridal shower invitation. Minted artist Carol Fazio helped me think about my design in a more abstract way, rather than hanging on to the concrete representation of the stockings, which would not have worked well with all initials.

Little Heart” birth announcement by Kim Dietrich Elam

Published May 3, 2016 • Want to join the Minted Artist Community? Submit to a Challenge here.
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