Name: Pastel Rae (artist and birth name)
Location: Sacramento, CA
Artist Bio: Born and raised in Sacramento, CA, Pastel Rae was always the child that stayed in the house drawing and reading books. She's always had a passion for art but was apprehensive about being a 'starving artist.' As a result, she pursued a career in the fashion industry as a mean for a more 'beneficial life' and gave up on her artist dreams. After spending 2 years in the Los Angeles fashion industry, she realized that one could never be truly happy doing what he/she does not love, regardless of the monetary reward. After much thought and self-learning, Pastel decided to quit her job, travel, and move back home to pursue art. In doing so, she is reexamining the notion of 'starving artist' in terms of finding a 'beneficial life' and working daily to encourage others to not only pursue their dreams and find their happiness, but give back to their community, as well.
Describe your experience as an artist. How would you describe your artistic purpose?
So far my experiences as an artist has been great. Along with, stressful, overwhelming, annoying, joyous….and so many other things. Its literally been a roller-coaster of emotions but I wouldn’t trade it for anything. It’s really cool to have created a name for myself. Being out and about and people know you as an artist is a great feeling.
What was your occupation/education prior to becoming an artist?
Prior to becoming an artist I was living and working in L.A for a fashion designer. After about 2 years, I picked up a paint brush and started painting my feelings. I loved my job but I was miserable being away from home. Once I hit 40+ paintings, I realized that I wanted to quit my job and go home to Sacramento to have an art show. I didn’t really have a plan, car, or job lined up and I had like $200 to my name. I just knew I wasn’t happy. After a month of being home I was able to land a temporary job and plan an art show. I made over $2,400 that night and at that moment I was like, okay I can do this
What has been your biggest challenge/obstacle in pursuing your art while having a full/part-time job?
My biggest challenge has probably been time management. Working a full time job in Real Estate, running an art business, as well as my charity (Give Back Sac), I find it hard to just sit back and breathe. Each of these businesses take so much of my energy and then having to stay on top of your social media presence is another job itself.
Describe your biggest milestone achieved/reach since pursuing your art.
My biggest achievement art-related…I would have to say being featured in a published magazine. It was one of the greatest feelings/moments in my life. It was important because where I’m from, we aren’t expected to be in magazines and have a positive light shined on us. It meant more to me than just my face being in a magazine. It meant so much to me because it’s something that the people in my city could look at as a positive instead of a negative.
How does your personal style/identity translate into your artwork?
My art is a huge representation of me. You’ll see my political views, my city, and my heart in my art. I paint a lot of women because I believe women are exceptional. I paint gang/trap art because that’s what I grew up seeing. I paint couples because love is truly the most beautiful thing to experience…. So everything that I paint is literally some part of me.
How do you maintain your mental health and inspiration as an artist and creative?
In all honesty, I need to do better at maintaining my mental health. I’m constantly stressed. But it’s always stress I create because I feel like I can handle everything on my own. What keeps me motivated is my family though. I push myself so hard because I want to be able to provide and always be there whenever they need anything, which is one of the reasons why I am not a full-time artist. My mom still works so I cant quit until she can! But artist block is real and stressful! During a block you start to doubt EVERYTHING! So the best thing for me to do is listen to music - not Top 100 music but music that will actually make me feel some type of way. Music with lyrics that I can feel.
How have you been able to give back to your community?
Although art is my passion, giving back is my purpose. Even when I had nothing, I was giving because I fell like if it were me, I would want someone to help me. My art has made it possible for me to start the charity, Give Back Sac. Using my social media platform I am able to spread more awareness on the homelessness in my city.
What is some advice or tips you would give to a fellow BGWP who is interested in pursuing art while working a full-time job?
My advice is to not rush yourself into being a full-time artist. Do what's best for you. Don’t look at the other artists on social media and let it define you or your path. We all have different priorities and goals so stay focused on yourself. Also, you are your brand so carry yourself how you want to be seen and remembered.