Name: Stina Aleah
Location: Ohio & Florida
Bio: Graduating with a Bachelor of Arts in Child Psychology and an Associates of Art in Fine Art from Purdue University in 2010, Stina Aleah utilizes the uncertainty of life's journey and applies it to her art. Never one to be confined by the normality of rules, she encourages others to take risks, follow their instincts, and improve their craft across a variety of mediums. Not only does Stina Aleah believes that art heals, but behind each painting, there's always a story that viewers can relate to, as well.
Stina Aleah specializes in modern art, using oil paint as her medium of choice. She finds inspiration through the beauty of life, her own personal growth, and the experiences she has encountered along the way while focusing on the strength of women, figures, and shapes. As she continues to exhibit nationally and internationally, her mission is for art enthusiast and collectors to feel connected with the concepts, symbolism and meaning behind her visual creations. When patrons view art it should be an experience!
Describe your experience as a current full-time artist.
Being a full time artist is a very interesting road. It's fulfilling and a freeing experience, but at the same time there needs to be a balance between creating, marketing, and business. I definitely find more purpose because I touch and change people's lives through my work. However, MY purpose is still developing. As of now, I want people to feel connected to my work through the emotions and story I put into it. I want them to walk away not wanting to forget about my pieces. It also important to know that purpose and goals are very different. So for now, my only purpose is for those to feel deeply, and connect emotionally where they otherwise thought they could not.
What was your occupation prior to becoming a full-time artist? What prompted you to transition?
I was Director of Operations for a growing small business and technical school. To be honest, I got tired of making the owner money and being under appreciated for the value I brought to his company...I thought to myself, and the previous business I ran, and decided all of my skill needs to be used for me. In order to transition, I started taking less responsibility at work, and eventually stepped down. Shortly after, I put in a 30 day notice (I was being nice, I knew I was the glue to the business and wanted to give him enough time to replace me). Once I quit, I opened a studio for a while, had events, etc. Ever since, I've been a full time artist and business owner.
What was your biggest challenge in transitioning and how did you overcome it? What was the biggest factor in your successful transition?
My biggest challenge was stepping out on faith, making sure that I had enough support during those low times (because they do come, ESPECIALLY the first year) building a team was so important it took a while to get the right people in my corner for emotional support, and those who enjoyed my work enough to want to help share my talents and also make small purchases. The biggest factor in my transition was SUPPORT SUPPORT SUPPORT! There were so many people who wouldn't let me quit, who advocated for me, and saw things in me that I didn't really see in myself right away.
Describe your biggest milestone achieved since pursuing your art full-time.
During the first few months on my own, I was hired by Facebook to do an art installation at their executive event. It's so funny because after so many disappointments and fake inquiries, I didn't even think it was real. But it in fact, was real! This was important to me because it helped me realize that regardless of how many "no's," there are real clients out there that see the talent, understand your pricing, and will pay for quality. It changed my perspective on being frustrated at the small things.
How do you maintain your mental health and inspiration as a full-time artist?
....Are any artist really sane? No I'm kidding! When I'm feeling a little heavy, I lean more towards solitude. I also pray through everything. God is my strength. Creative blocks are mental. Nothing more. When you can control your mental, you won't deal with the artist block. We have so many ideas streaming through our heads at all times. The problem is we often do not sketch them out or write them down and then we forget. If you need a push open your sketchbook and look at the ideas you had and create them, do so. The more creativity you use, the more you have and it never runs out. So getting your brain stimulated will always help. Also, surround yourself with new art. Go to galleries! It's always good to see new styles and new work to restart your brain.
What is some advice or tips you would give to a fellow BGWP who is interested in pursuing art full-time and/or transitioning careers?
Believe in yourself, as cliche as it sounds. You cannot have half-way faith. It is all or nothing. Remember always that faith without work is dead - meaning with the belief in yourself, you have to work your @$$ off. Self care is important also, remember to take days off for yourself. I recently wrote a book entitled, Artrepreneuer: Making Your Dreams A Business, where I discuss the fundamentals of starting a business, and operating successfully - from your vision, and business name, to branding. I took pieces from my own life experiences, and intertwined them into each chapter. Physical signed copies and eBooks are available here!
What is next for you?
I'm always traveling, always exhibiting! My next events are below in Miami, FL!
What does being a "black girl who paints" means to you?
It means a lot, we do not see enough of our faces in the big leagues when it comes to art. I know this, and recognize it and its important to understand the responsibility we have as black girls who paint to change that. That is my mission.