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Meet Aleisha Nelson

Today we’d like to introduce you to Aleisha Nelson.

Hi Aleisha, please kick things off for us with an introduction to yourself and your story.
I started my art company in my sophomore year dorm room. Attending college in the San Francisco Bay Area introduced me to the culturally unique city that San Francisco is and so I decided to make a piece of artwork inspired by it. Thus, my first hand-painted neighborhood map design was born.

From there, I started making maps of other cities for my friends and other students and then eventually, I grew my Instagram following enough where I could start making them for anyone who asked! Today I run my business out of my apartment and do much more than just cartography artwork – I now create Travel Guides, work on brand partnerships, hotel advertising, photography, murals, art installations, etc. It’s a true art and design company now and I wear many hats as the founder.

I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle free, but so far would you say the journey have been a fairly smooth road?
It’s definitely been a bumpy ride. Starting, growing, and running a business is not easy. There have been a lot of “no’s” along the way and a lot of letdowns, too. You have to grow some thick skin if you’re going to run any kind of business, but particularly as an artist, it can be hard not to take a “no” personally because your products are *handmade* by YOU. When I don’t get a partnership opportunity I really wanted or I get rejected from a craft fair I wanted to participate in, it’s really easy to let yourself think that it’s because your work isn’t good enough. But you can’t let yourself think that way. You just have to rethink your mindset and reroute. Spend time focusing on other things that may grow your business in ways you wouldn’t expect. Just keep trying.

Thanks – so what else should our readers know about your work and what you’re currently focused on?
I’m a cartography artist and I specialize in customizable, hand-painted watercolor map artwork. I’m known for my colorful maps with heat-embossed borders and hand-illustrated neighborhood names. Each one is unique and never created twice in the same way. I offer my customers the ability to choose the color that their map comes in and I allow them to give me a couple of addresses that they want highlighted on the map (i.e. a wedding venue, a first date spot, an engagement location, a favorite coffee shop, a home address, etc.) which makes my maps so much more meaningful to their future owners. This, along with my fun and whimsical pattern designs, are what set my work apart from others and that’s definitely something I’m proud of. 🙂

How do you think about luck?
I think that no matter what you do, you’re going to encounter good luck and bad luck. Some of my biggest brand partnerships have come from someone simply following me on Instagram, following me for a while and then finally reaching out to discuss the idea of potentially working on a project together. To me, this is good luck. But there’s also bad luck where you almost have a job secured, and then something like a global pandemic, let’s say, comes around the corner and your entire business has to shut down. You’ll never be able to control the world around you, so what I’ve taught myself is just to accept good luck when it comes your way and to turn “bad luck” into some form of good luck if you can. For example, when we were all stuck at home last year and every single market event I was signed up for got canceled… I decided not to let myself give up and instead, I spent my time updating my website and growing my email list, making videos for Tik Tok, etc. and now I can see that all of those things have actually helped my business more than a little market ever could have. It’s your mindset!

Contact Info:

Image Credits
The first photo of myself dressed in all white should be credited to Nicki Lamkin Photography. Please credit Aleisha Nelson, @artbyaleisha

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