We had the good fortune of connecting with Andrea Holmes and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Andrea, what is the most important factor behind your success?
Consistency, dynamism, collaboration, and connection have been the pillars to my success as an artist. Consistency plays a part in a few ways. Regularly showing up to the easel, creating collections of paintings in one style, and actively marketing my art. I have learned to roll with the punches over the last few years, but never have I been pushed to be dynamic more than this year. My main income source was art festivals and classes. All of those were cancelled this year. After a period of grief and eating a lot of pizza I started to think about what I could do instead of what I couldn’t. I started painting positive messages on local businesses’ windows on a donation basis. Eventually this led to a mural! Murals are now my biggest source of income, and it wasn’t even a part of my business model at the beginning of the year! Collaborating with other artists and businesses has played a huge part in my success. You gain access to each other’s networks of customers, you get new perspectives and ideas, and you get the chance to make something unique together! Connection with my community has been crucial. Not only connecting with customers, but with your peers. I am lucky to have such a great community of artists in McKinney that I can bounce ideas off of and talk shop with. It is the fuel to my sanity. Find your people and keep them close!
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community? We’d love to hear what sets you apart from others.
I am definitely known as the bird lady. I started painting birds in 2013, and have painted hundreds of them over the last 7 years. What you are most proud of or excited about. Murals! I am loving painting BIG right now!
How did you get to where you are today professionally. Was it easy? If not, how did you overcome the challenges?
Slowly. It is definitely a marathon and not a sprint. The journey full of ups and downs. I started working full time in jobs not related to art, but I slowly put stepping stones down that lead to being a full time artist. That looked like taking art classes at night, do my first art show, start an online store, do more art shows, decrease my job hours to part time, teach classes, lose part time job, go full time artist, get a studio out of my house, lose studio, find a new studio, do more art shows and classes, pandemic, lose art shows and classes, paint windows and murals, and finally getting a bigger studio. It’s a crazy roller coaster, but I am enjoying the ride!
What are the lessons you’ve learned along the way.
To get rid of the idea of what an artist is “supposed” to be and to do what it takes to make my art. The path is never straight or easy, but keep your compass pointed towards your creativity and you will make progress.
What do you want the world to know about you or your brand and story?
I want to magnify the good things in life with humor, joy and paint.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Ooo yes! Here is a list of my top ten places in McKinney because I seriously love this town: 1. The Yard for Saritas (the best margaritas ever. Period.) and pork nachos. 2. Fair and Square so they could see my 100′ mural with native Texas plants and animals. Then shop the goodies they have inside. 3. Erwin Park for a Poke picnic and a walk. 4. The Millhouse at The Cotton Mill. This is where my beautiful natural light studio is, but also the Cotton Mill is a wonderful historic building. It is a special place that I love to show off. 5. The Chestnut Square Farmers Market. Get your order in early with Rosemary Bakery and devour a cruffin or other magical baked good. 6. Last Art Gallery. They have over 40+ local artists showcasing their art including mine. 7. Bonnie Wenk Park for a walk. These trails are beautiful and I love seeing all the people with their dogs and children enjoying themselves. 8. Tupps Brewery. I love their local beers and new Blur hard seltzer. They also have a Rye food truck that is soooo good! 9. Filtered for coffee and a walk around downtown McKinney. 10. Cookies Mexican restaurant for a breakfast burrito with bacon, potatoes, eggs, and cheese with the green salsa. Insert drool face here.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
My college professor, Jennifer Seibert. She has such an encouraging and bright spirit, and she gave me the tools to develop my own style. My husband, Bobby Holmes. He is the Bert to my Ernie. Without his support my creative career would be very different. My art book club. These women have been my rock of support and sanity. Andy J. Miller. His podcast, Creative Pep Talk, has been my weekly sermon of positivity and growth.
I took all the photos included.