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Conversations with Lisa Lopez

Today we’d like to introduce you to Lisa Lopez.

Hi Lisa, we’re thrilled to have a chance to learn your story today. So, before we get into specifics, maybe you can briefly walk us through how you got to where you are today?
I always knew I wanted to be an artist. As a kid, I grew up watching my Dad sketch. I was so fascinated with how realistic he could draw just by looking at something. From that point, my goal of being an artist began. I was always taking different art classes, entering in art contests and striving to learn everything I could. I graduated from New Mexico State University in May 2016 with a Bachelor’s degree in Fine Arts. I’m originally from Southern New Mexico and at that time there wasn’t much of an art scene to be a part of and grow with. So, in August of 2016, I sold my things, packed up the rest of my belongings, my two dogs and moved out to San Diego.

To be honest, I wasn’t sure what the future held. I wasn’t sure if I would ever use my degree in a professional sense. When I moved to San Diego I began serving and bartending. I continued to create art for personal fulfillment. From time to time, I would look into the San Diego art scene, and I couldn’t help but get discouraged. I doubted myself and wondered if I was good enough to stand side by side with these talented artists.

I began to lose sight of why I decided to come out to San Diego in the first place. Then 2020 happened. I got injured on the job at the very beginning of that year. Two months later a world pandemic hit. Instead of allowing my fears of the unknown future to get me down, I decided to use my extra time to be productive. When one door or in this case multiple doors close, another one opens, right?

I began painting my dogs for fun and I realized how much I enjoyed capturing their personalities with my watercolors. I wondered why I didn’t start painting pet portraits sooner?! I began practicing by painting friend’s and family’s pets until I gained confidence in myself to start selling these services. In April 2020 my art business, Pawtastic Pet Paintings began. I’ve been enjoying every minute of it.

I feel like most artists can agree with me that it can be scary to share your work with the world. When I started Pawtastic Pet Paintings, those fears began to dissipate and for the first time in my life, I felt comfortable calling myself an artist. I’ve started to branch out and dabble in acrylic pour art, which is more abstract art. It’s been extremely rewarding, especially coming from a background of only painting and drawing realistically. Being able to let loose and create these abstract pieces has opened so much more for me to explore.

Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
There are a lot of challenges that come with the pursuit of wanting to be a full-time artist. One major challenge is the one that comes from within. The self-doubt and self-worth. Like I mentioned before, my self-doubt took over for some time. Being afraid of opening the door to the unknown is what got me to stop pursuing my dreams. Then when COVID hit, I was reminded that we are only on this earth a short while. If being an artist is what I feel I’m meant to do, then it’s time to take all the risks that come with that.

After the reminder, new challenges arise. In art school, we were never taught how to run a business or how to sell your art. So, undertaking the countless hours of YouTubing, Google searching, website creating, social media learning and online courses have all been a major challenge. With my fingers crossed, hopefully a well worth challenge!

My most recent obstacle has been limited space. I don’t currently have this issue with my pet portraits, but I eventually want to begin creating my acrylic pour art on a larger scale. Hopefully by the end of the year, I’ll be able to find a large enough space to be able to do so. It’s all about baby steps!

Lastly, there is the inevitable question of stability. With that, I’ve learned that networking is your best friend. In the beginning, I was so fearful of the art world and meeting other artists. I quickly learned it is not a world to fear but a world to embrace. There’s so much support and shared knowledge. With those feelings, the possibilities seem endless.

Appreciate you sharing that. What else should we know about what you do?
My Pawtastic Pet Paintings are done in watercolors and watercolor pens. At the beginning of the process, I send my clients an order form to fill out with the specifics of what they’re looking for in their custom-made pet portrait. I allow my clients to choose between vibrant/rainbow colors or realistic colors. I feel like giving those two options allows both my client’s and their pet’s personality to come out a bit more. My favorite part in my process is seeing everyone’s photos of their pets! I also ask for a description of their pet’s personality. It helps me tap in and create a more personalized piece. Currently, I offer three different sizes which all come hand matted, so they are frame ready upon receiving them.

My pet painting business was created during the pandemic. I remember feeling that it only felt right to give back in some way with my art. Because of COVID there was a large increase in pet adoptions. As a dog mom to two amazing rescues, it made sense to send help to local animal rescues with donations and supplies. So, with each purchase, partial proceeds go back to helping other furry friends in need! I’ve teamed up with The Animal Pad Dog Rescue, who are a great local rescue, but I am always open to discovering other trusted rescues in our area to help.

As for my acrylic pour art, I create these on all different sizes and shape canvases. My personal favorite shapes are the hexagons! I use specific color schemes that I know match and flow well together. Created with air, heat and lots of paint, each piece is unique and never the same as the one before. I take commissions for these pieces as well. With a commission, I can help cover that empty wall in an office or living space that will match personal color schemes. My acrylic pour art is in its beginning stages. In the future I plan to continue to find organizations to donate to with the purchase of this art as well. It’s something I feel very passionate about to continue. Currently, my next step for my abstract art is opening my Esty shop. I’ll be announcing on my social media when it’s up and running! Overall, I’m very excited to see where my art takes me.

Where do you see things going in the next 5-10 years?
This is just the beginning for me. I hope in the next 5-10 years I’m a successful full-time artist who hosts art shows with purpose. Art shows that benefit charities and help make a positive difference in other’s lives. I hope to be like some of the artists and entrepreneurs I look up to, the ones who have given me the belief in myself that this goal of mine is in reaching distance.

I remember growing up and believing that if you want to become an artist, you’ll need to prepare yourself for the big possibility of financially struggling. Now, with the power of social media, it allows you to connect with people from all over the world. You can peek into other people’s lives, find inspiration and see how others are successfully pursuing their dreams. Of course, not everything is rainbows and sunshine, but social media can be a helpful tool to see your personal influencers (real people) share both their struggles and their wins.

I think it’s 100% possible to beat whatever the usual odds are. If someone wants something bad enough and they work hard, anything is possible. Overall, is taking the leap to be a full-time artist a risk? Yes. Will it be worth it no matter the outcome? Yes, times a million.

Contact Info:


Image Credits
@jlwallace_photography

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