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I know Sarah Rowan Dahl from the days where we attended the same church here in South Carolina. Today, God’s plan has taken her all the way to Australia! But it’s not the geography that amazes me about where Sarah is now, it’s the fact that she is earning a living at what she does. Check it out:
1. Sarah, tell us who you are and what you do as a artist.
I am a contemporary painter, and stay-at-home mum with 2 young girls, who keep my quirky bright style ever evolving as I glean much inspiration from their uninhibited creative flairs. For the past 10 years, I have been developing my skills as a LIVE artist, which basically means I paint while a crowd watches the piece from start to finish.
2. Now tell us about your creative background:
In 2003, I graduated from Converse College (BFA degree in Studio Art) and started waiting tables because I wasn’t sure how else to pay for art supplies while I tried to attract clients and gallery exposure. In 2004, I started my art business and it has taken many twists and turns over the years. For instance, from ’05-’07 I attended Hillsong International Leadership College and earned a diploma in Worship & Creative Arts, and had my first child 3 weeks after finishing my course.
3. Sarah, many artists and other Creatives struggle trying to figure out how to earn a living using their talent. You’ve seemed to master that. Tell us how you got to that point. Was it a clear path? Did it just “happen”? What’s the secret?
As a stereotype, artists lack in the skills surrounding finance, business, and people skills. Thankfully, those areas can be learned if you’re willing to undergo the necessary classes/training involved. I barely passed math throughout school, and find anything with numbers painful for the most part. However, I am grateful for a fascination in learning about business and sales since I was a teenager.
It also seems that many artists focus on what they want to create, rather than what the potential clients in their culture/location are interested in purchasing. Know your target market, and more sales come after narrowing your focus (i.e. corporate, designers, home owners, etc, and even more-so). The mindset of consumers has shifted in the past 5-10 years, and failure to stay current with their needs will cost you. People today have advertising fatigue and are skeptical. They buy from people they trust, and when you “close” a sale, you are really “opening” a long-term relationship. I have lost track of how many customers tell me their home looks like a gallery of my work. LOL
4. What role does God play in your life and in your creative work?
I feel His delight when I paint and photograph, and enjoy using the gifts He gave me. Every piece, whether inspired by His Word, music, creation, or mainstream sources, all filter through my heart and hands to bring Him joy, and inspire those who observe it being created or enjoy it in their space.
My goals and dreams as an artist are larger than myself, I cannot accomplish them without His favor, anointing, and delight.
5. What advice can you give the rest of us?
Be teachable. Most cities provide free small business seminars! And if you haven’t invested into art classes and want to hone your skills, what are you waiting for? Build your people skills, and build relationships, not just one off clients. Work smarter, not harder.
Lastly, serve. If you find another artist that has a skill you need, offer to help them in anyway they need in order to be around them and learn how they do what they do. If they say no thanks, keep looking! GROW BABY GROW!
Although Sarah now lives in Australia, she’s just a click away! Visit her using any of the following:
This interview is powered by CITISONSHIP Clothing