We had the good fortune of connecting with Theresa Schlossberg and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Theresa, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
When I first started out, I followed the path recommended by my professors and the industry at the time. Over time, it became clear, that was not the path that would lead me to my end goal. I didn’t care about being remembered in the annals of Art History or becoming the next big name in Fine Art. So after a lot of thought and deliberation, I decided to take a path less traveled. My goal, was to elevate the concept of Geek Art by making semi-abstract and abstract fandom themed art. A fan called it Elevated Geek, and it stuck with me. There is a market for geek theme art that isn’t overtly typical. I am passionate about what I create, and by making art that I would be proud to hang in my home, I know that others would be too. This is key to starting any business, do what you know, and with passion. Next on the list was taking the art to those who would appreciate it, and Comic Conventions are the primary space to be. First had to obtain a sales license, and find the right conventions. After speaking with others in that market, and doing research, it became clear that the first 2 years would be losses, the 3rd year break even, and then gradually build into profitability. Going in understanding the aforementioned, helped temper my expectations. Keeping your expectations grounded is important, but so is maintaining you passion. Overstretching can be a challenge, and lead to burnout. Something I often need to remind myself. However, with the pandemic, I have had to take a hard look at my business model, as Art is a “want to” not a “need to” in an economic climate devastated by unemployment. Cons have taken a hard hit and are virtually non-existent. Now is the time to focus on an online model and expanding into new areas earlier than I had planned. In a way, it is like starting my business all over again, but hopefully with a broader reach that before.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
Deciding to focus on Art as a profession has probably been one of the scariest decisions I’ve made in my life. The financial uncertainty and aesthetic subjectivity can be daunting, but keeping a positive attitude has been paramount to my maintaining my forward path. Even in the current economic climate, I find it important to keep creating art and sharing it online helps me personally. Businesswise, the biggest challenge has been transitioning in-person sales to online sales during this pandemic. I know I am not the only artist faced with this challenge, but by diversifying my offerings and expanding my social media presence, it is my hope these efforts will pay off in the long run. Regardless, of the business side of things, I make art to be seen, and I will continue to create new works and share them online. Nothing gives me a bigger thrill than seeing my art being viewed and liked globally.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
When friends from out-of-state come into Austin, I enjoy taking them on a food tour, and then hitting a few main attractions. One of my favorite things to do, is take them to Rudy’s. The look on their faces as we pull into a gas station for BBQ is priceless. They walk out satisfied and in disbelief they just had the best BBQ at a gas station. Often a night ends at the historic Driskell Hotel. The oldest functioning hotel in Texas, and absolutely breath taking. But nothing beats taking friends boating on Lake Travis or up to Mount Bonnell. Of course, a movie at Alamo Drafthouse is always on the list of must do’s. There is no shortage of sites, festivals, art, food and music in Austin.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I’d like to give a shout out to my Family and Friends as they have always been and continue to be my biggest supports. However, over the years, it has been the wonderful women of Artist Alley and Creative Arts Society that have helped me in so many ways. They have become dear friends and a wealth of shared knowledge. I adore them greatly!
Other: Holiday Art Shop https://www.etsy.com/shop/TSchlossFineArt
Art photos taken by Theresa Schlossberg. Portrait photography by Zac Seewald