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Meet Skye Silver of Studio Skye Silver

Today we’d like to introduce you to Skye Silver.

Skye, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I’ve always had an obsession with aesthetics; the way things looked; color coding; layout and organization. I’m the granddaughter of a painter, niece of a painter, and great niece of a sculptor—the artistic gene runs in the family. I started drawing and acrylic painting at age six at the local art institute in Annapolis, MD; my parents quickly took note.

I was the first student from my high school to score a 5 on their AP Art portfolio, although I had never considered a career in art or even graphic design. I ended up majoring in International Relations with minors in Marketing and Spanish. I began narrowing in on oil painting during college, experimenting with vivid brush strokes and intense color. Art was just a hobby I wanted to maintain but not place too much emphasis on at this point.

After graduation, I envisioned myself moving back Washington D.C. and working within diplomacy or politics. I grew up in Maryland 35 minutes outside of D.C.; most professionals from my county were commuting government workers or in positions that supported the D.C. political engine. This seemed like the conventional path for me.

After working in and out of Capitol Hill, I quickly learned this line of work and the mindset of Washingtonians weren’t for me. I yearned for warmer weather and sunnier prospects on the other side of the country. A friend and I moved cross-country to corky Ocean Beach in 2017; for no other reason than in pursuit of the California state-of-mind. We moved with neither jobs or housing secured, but with two strong wills to land on our feet. Day six, we got the keys to our apartment, week two I accepted my first job offer.

Art took a back seat for a while as I gathered my bearings as a freshly independent, bill-paying working gal. My job as a proposal writer for a local engineering firm was high-stress and long hours; I needed a creative outlet. I dusted off the paint brushes two years later and enrolled in classes at the San Diego Art Academy (North Park), before transitioning to Art on 30th (North Park)—starting with their co-working shared studio space, then to a sublet private studio, and then to my very own private studio (Studio 1, visitors welcome)!

Fast forward, one year into my second job—an in-house creative team position for a popular surf brand. I was notified as a result of COVID, I was being furloughed effective immediately. I was upset for roughly a day, before I boarded the quarantine vacation train.

Having freedom of time and mobility was a godsend. It allowed me to up my painting more than a pathetic once per week. Suddenly, I was commuting to the studio instead of an office practically every single day. 90% of the time I was the only person there for hours on end—an entire 5,000 square-foot gallery all to ones’ self and their creative expression.

This studio was a sanctuary to incubate new painting techniques, take risks; take my paintings to a new level. I was carrying a lot of weight from work that was hindering my creativity—awoken and unleashed during the early stages of this difficult quarantine.

I felt happier, more carefree, the true boss of my own schedule. I started hypothesizing the potential of—yes, corny but—following my dreams, conceiving a booming fine artist business, and not going back to full-time office work for the foreseeable future. That temporary furlough ultimately preceded a misfortunate, permanent layoff. I feel at peace because it was the catalyst I needed in order to make this next, major life transition.

People don’t just wake up one day and decide, “I’m going to be an artist;” artistic creativity is a passion with which one is born. I truly believe it is my calling to create and maximize this gift to the fullest potential the universe will grant me. The business, Studio Skye Silver, was born.

And that’s where I am at, trying to figure it all out and dive into the unknown—with resilience and positivity. East coast uppity politics turned west-coast free-spirit surfer artist. Anything is possible…

Has it been a smooth road?
The biggest obstacle standing in the way of success is myself—the negative self-talk that can start to fester and implode. Sometimes I battle thoughts of invalidity and worthlessness, questioning what the hell I’m doing, like I’m throwing away all of my accumulated professional experience for some lala-land idyllic (quarantine confined) fairytale.

I’m a perfectionist and have a tendency to be extremely self-critical of myself and my work. I’ll gaze upon a piece that’s finished and instead of feeling pride, I’ll pinpoint everything I hate about it and the parts I wish I had painted better. This can be exacerbated when I look at successful artists on Instagram with a massive following who, appear to make a killing—I start enviously comparing myself to them, which can spiral anyone down a dark road.

We are all our own worst critic, naturally. My parents and inner circle are my biggest champions and constantly serve as a note to self that I WILL succeed; I WILL prevail, so long as I get out of my own stinking head. The strong support system recalibrates me and reminds me why I’m pursing this.

Finances of course are a concern and usually top of mind. When I was working full-time, I never would have considered waiting tables, bartending, or nannying again. I have accepted the fact that if I want to make this dream a reality, then I will need to be okay with tapping into the gig economy or making money through untraditional means. I used to have sufficient discretionary income to travel, “treat yourself,” go to concerts, and so forth, and now unfortunately I’m scrutinizing over every single penny which can be stressful. Good thing concerts and these sorts of temptations are off the table for a while! 

Studio Skye Silver – what should we know? What do you do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
My business which I have coined Studio Skye Silver—is the personal creative vision of myself that I am sharing with the world. I specialize in nature inspired figurative landscapes and contemporary portraiture, primarily through oil paintings. I also paint in acrylics and love to work in chalk pastels.

My paintings are characterized by confident brush strokes and vibrant color. My “naturescapes” portray my infatuation with the colors and textures of our natural world—exerting heavy influence from the ocean/surf culture and forest flora— while my portraiture conveys the unique essence of my subjects. My intimate and visceral experiences with the outdoors inform my art, which in turn manipulate the way I see our precious, delicate world.

When I’m not working on my own body of work, I take commissions, customs orders of my work, and mural requests. I recently just completed my first, large-scale mural for Mighty CrossFit of Point Loma this June. I also began producing art prints of some of my original works that I sell directly and consign through local gift shops, boutiques, and plant shops. All currently available pieces can be purchased directly from my website as well. 

I never want to be pigeon-holed to one style of painting, so I think my breadth of capabilities as a painter serves as a strong suit for me. Sometimes I want to paint a still life, or a figurative tree, or a thought-provoking portrait. I’m still learning and experimenting so I could very well dial in on one trademark down the line.

Graphic design and proposal development are also digital services I am offering under the Studio Skye Silver umbrella—via Fiverr, Upwork, as well as my website. Somehow graphic design and visual communication found me, and I started performing more of these competencies as I advanced throughout my career. I am self-taught, in addition to the principles and technical skills mentors and colleagues have instilled along the way.

I offer vectorizing any of my paintings into scalable, digital illustrations for brand and business marketing purposes. My expertise in studio art has lent itself to a strong eye for color, composition, and typography in a digital and graphic design context.

I am most proud of the will within myself—to acknowledge and lean into my passions—and the gut feeling—that success lay only a short distance away. It is an individual, internally driven endeavor, produced directly from the heart. Studio Skye Silver is a reflection of how I view the world. I feel grateful for having a passion that I can harness and leverage towards a fulfilling, exciting, new path that others can appreciate and feel joy.

My greatest pleasure is to see those who gaze upon my art react with awe and mesmerism. By reading this you are part of my journey and accountability as I continue to build this business and make a name for myself.

How do you think the industry will change over the next decade?
I am not expert, but I only see this industry getting more competitive, with a shift towards direct selling (i.e. attaining and connecting with consumers via Instagram) and away from dealer and gallery representation.

There are so many artistic folks out there that settled or succumbed to 9-5 jobs because bottom line they have families to feed and college tuitions to fund. I am certain the coronavirus pandemic has triggered a wave of furloughed or laid off employees finding themselves re-examining self-employed alternatives, notably profiting off of their craft, freed from the shackles of a corporate employer and empowered to serve as their own boss —– a true gift for those disciplined and driven enough. The barriers to entry are low, however the competitive landscape is fierce. Especially now with most people’s discretionary income dried up.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Sarah Voss

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