Today we’d like to introduce you to Devon Browning.
So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
I moved to San Diego after graduating from University of Wisconsin – La Crosse, and immediately got involved in the art scene here, showing pieces at any random art show I could find. Eventually I discovered Art of Pride, a non-profit that runs the artist section at the Pride festival in San Diego, and I ended up showing there for 7 years. Much of my following has stemmed from my booth at the Pride festival, and other LGBT related events. I’ve sold original pieces and commissioned portraits exclusively from word-of-mouth.
Besides being involved in art shows, another important piece of my journey has been with the art studios that I’ve painted out. First, 3rdSpace in University Heights, which introduced me to an amazing amount of people who made it their career to do their art. And I’ve also painted out of The Art Department on Ray Street (now closed) and then La Bodega Gallery in Barrio Logan, which was recently voted best gallery in San Diego. These spaces and the people there have helped get me where I am today.
Some of the highlights of my career so far were to have a piece of mine featured on the cover of CityBeat magazine, and to have one of my paintings shown at the San Diego Airport.
Now I work full time at a nonprofit, and do my paintings on the side. I get to choose commissions that I’m excited about. And I’ve had the privilege of sharing my soul and inner life with collectors who can somehow see themselves in my deeply personal work.
We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
There have been immense struggles for me along the way. Inconsistency in sales is a big one; and fighting for the price you feel a piece deserves is another. But these are obstacles that affect almost every artist.
On a more personal level, the pain of rejection has been a struggle. It takes a bit of stubbornness, and sometimes having to accept less sales, to stick with your vision. I’d rather sell less but love what I paint. The world will give a lot of feedback about what you should do differently, and it can be difficult at times to determine what to take in, and what to toss out. But tossing out 90% of people’s feedback is usually necessary.
So let’s switch gears a bit and go into the Devon Browning Art story. Tell us more about the business.
I create portraits and figurative photo-realistic oil paintings. I am known for the way I handle light, and for painting incredibly realistic skin and features. For my original pieces, I only paint women, and I often represent lesbians in my work. I find beauty in androgynous women. My goal is showcase a private world that brings the viewer into a under-represented space. All of my paintings are based on an initial photograph, and so this makes it relatively easy to paint commissions. A client is able to send me a few photographs via email and I can create their painting.
Has luck played a meaningful role in your life and business?
Luck has not played a big role in my life or business. But I did have some bad luck that has affected me in recent years. The Pride festival got rained out a few years back, and some of my paintings were damaged. It also caused the sales that year to be especially bad for everyone. And then the very next year our setup was moved to a low-traffic area so that again, for the second year in a row, we plagued by terrible sales. I’ve since given up my booth at Pride, and have been trying to find a new venue to show my work.
- Commissioned paintings start at $400
- Original paintings start at $250
- Art quality prints of my original work start at $25
- Website: www.devonbrowning.com
- Phone: 2622154965
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: @devonabrowning
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