Tips on learning how to find your true self and making your dreams work for you: for the artist
Cierra Lynn is a serial entrepreneur in the art and fashion industry. You can find her colorful artwork painted on shoes, clothes, canvases, tattoos, and even edibles. Her success wasn't handed to her, she created it by altering her environment. She was able to accomplish what others said she couldn't and learn to love, respect, and praise herself within her artwork. She now proudly displays this new sense of self and encourages women to do the same. Check out her interview below where she talks passion, art, and everything in between:
- Before you began creating your brand you were an art teacher. How was that like? I started as a teacher assistant and incorporated art into my curriculum. The principal and teachers were so impressed with my work that I got promoted to art teacher. I loved that I was able to give back to the children and show them about love thru art. In the D.C. lower income community, where I taught, children weren’t exposed to different materials and artist. I was able to expose them early to something new and that gave me such fulfillment. I didn't even have an art room. I rolled around with my material in a cart all day from class to class, going into someone else's personal space. However, I was doing something I loved and impacting lives, I was living in my purpose for that moment.
- What is your advice to mothers who may want to pursue a career in art but are discouraged because of the difficulties in getting your work to sell in this field? My advice would be to stay true to who you are and believe in yourself. When I started my journey I decided to go to school for graphic design. I was told a lot that I couldn’t be a graphic designer because my artwork looked like paintings. I became discouraged from all the criticism and changed my major. What I have now realized is that a lot of times people will discourage you about a path they have never ventured. Don't take to heart their opinions because they may not have your views, ideas, or gifts to make that path work for them. That doesn't mean it won't work for YOU. You'll have to listen to others opinions anytime you start a journey. However, you must stay true to yourself and believe in yourself. Focus on being your authentic self and using your authentic gift without mimicking anyone and focus on what you can bring to the table vs. what you cannot.
- Where do you get your inspiration for your art from? I get inspiration from just being a woman. A lot of things that I try to put in my artwork and designs are about self-love. I focus on issues specific to women and put a positive spin on things that would normally shame us.
- Why is it so important for you to express this idea of self-love thru your artwork? It is important for me to show women that you have to love yourself inside and out. A lot of us focus on the World's perception when the perception of ourselves is what shapes us. I try to incorporate a lot of female spaces, images, and words that show highlight the beauty of women. our features. To love yourself is to be proud of who you are, tap into your gifts and not live with the labels or judgement that you have received.
- Any tips on making an income off art? I got a taste of being a small business owner in college. I didn't have any income so I started making money to buy books by adapting my gifts to my environment. I would do a lot of fraternity decorations and men's pieces because that was the demand at the time. When I became a mom, I started doing kids designs for my daughter vs. spending a lot of money on clothes. Now, that I have the means to support myself Iam branching out for ideas that are from my heart and vision versus necessity. Until you can afford to, focus on what is in demand within your area and cultivate your gift to meet that demand.
- Once you become an artist, are you limited in branching into other career paths such as fashion, business owner, etc.? The same image I can paint on a canvas can be put on apparel, shoes, edibles, etc. Even though it's a different medium it is the same incorporation so the transition was easy. Your art is what carries the message and once you have your signature style there are so many avenues you can tap into by transferring that art to anything.
- What advice would you give to mothers who want to become business owners? If I could redo my journey I would've learned more about business in general. Focus on trademarks, copyrights, and business structures. Get your basic education on the foundations of business because it will always come back to bite you. Establish a solid foundation and have everything in place so you don’t have to back track. Also, start building your personal credit so you can start getting a credit line for your business. Once you found your niche, make sure it is the right field for you because everything isn't for everyone. Also, write down all your visions, ideas, and what you want to happen so that they come to pass.
- As a mother, what characteristics do you hope to instill in your daughter to prepare her for womanhood? I hope that by her seeing that I work really hard and always try my best she can develop a strong work ethic. I want her to be a free spirit, think outside of the box, be confident, and think for herself. I see my daughter as a strong woman who thinks for herself, doesn't seek validation from others and is an influencer for her generation. I teach her this by watching how I carry myself and leading by example.
- When people shop the Cierra Lynn collection what experience do you want them to walk away with? I would like for a potential customer walk away feeling inspired, happy, colorful, bold, fun, and feel a boost of self-confidence. Cierra Lynn is about embracing womanhood and loving every moment of it.