By far one of our favorite parts of building this community has been connecting with inspiring people who are living out their dreams each and every day. We truly believe that stories can change the world, and more importantly, empower others to start living their own best lives.
Today, we’re very excited to share our next Degenerate interview with you. We were lucky enough to have the opportunity to connect with Evelyn Henson, artist and creative entrepreneur, who is all about living a brightly decorated life.
What drew us to Evelyn’s story was how familiar it sounded to so many of ours – the uncertainty of what do to after graduating college, the need for community and support, the courage to do something unconventional with your life, and the determination to do something with your life that makes you come alive.
Evelyn’s start in her art business started when her friends gifted her a set of paints and she decided to paint a floral still life for Mother’s Day. She had decided not to major in art in college, because she felt like she needed a different degree “to get a job” (like so many of us!), and instead majored in art history and communications. After graduating from college and looking for jobs, Evelyn started painting more and more. With the support of her family and close friends, Evelyn decided to open up an Etsy shop to sell some of her prints to get by while she was job searching. Now, she’s a successful creativepreneur who’s doing what she loves each day and spreading inspiration to live a brightly decorated life!
If these ideas resonate at all with you, you’re going to love hearing what Evelyn has to say about her journey.
Personally, I’ve been following Evelyn on Instagram for quite a while now, constantly inspired by her talent and her ability to make the every day moments into celebrations of life and happiness. To be able to learn more about her story, experience, and lessons learned along the way has been a wonderful reminder of how important it is to follow your passions and work hard to live your happiest, most fulfilling life.
Thank you, Evelyn, for an inspiring, reassuring, and eye-opening interview. Here’s to celebrating all of life’s beautiful, little moments.
Our Interview with Degenerate Evelyn Henson
You are very self-taught in your art and business. What is your advice to those of us who think we don’t have the right degree or experience or connections to start our own business (or pursue our dream job/life)?
As someone who used to think not having a studio arts degree meant she couldn’t be an artist, I can definitely relate to this feeling of doubt. 2-3 years ago, I didn’t have the same skill set that art school graduates had and I knew that. To be honest, I still wish I had taken more art classes in college because I know I could still learn a lot. But, degree or no degree, there’s always something new to learn and someone new to compare yourself to. You can’t waste time doubting yourself and compare yourself to others who have more experience and/or validity within your field. All you can do is be kind, have passion, and put in the work.
How do you continue to stay motivated each and every day? Do you have a daily routine you follow now that your passion is your career?
You are a triplet with a sister in medical school and a brother in law school. How did your family’s support affect your decision to pursue a different path?
I didn’t have many ideas as to what I wanted to do at that time, so I initially just turned to art as more of a hobby/distraction. My family was really into it and passed the word around to friends who were quick to lend support. It made me feel more confident (or at least comfortable) with what I was doing. Looking back, I can see that it was kind of crazy to pursue being an artist when I had no fine arts degree and little art experience, but their support just made the whole thing feel completely normal.
Aside from friends and family, how have you been able to find a community of other creatives who are building their own businesses? What is your advice for those of us looking to connect with like-minded people?
I initially made several connections just by following other creatives and connecting over Instagram. Don’t be afraid to reach out and send an email to let someone know you like their work. There are also so many creative conferences and groups you can attend and join to make those connections too! Create + Cultivate, The Makers Summit, Amber Housely Inspired, & the Southern C are a few that come to mind (follow them on Instagram!). If you’re in Charlotte NC, I highly recommend Pink Social’s Girl Tribe.
You mentioned that your biggest challenge in creating your business and following your own path for success has been confidence. SO so many of us struggle with this; it’s a relief to know we’re not alone! How did you push through your fears and not let them hold you back? What advice would you have for those of us who also struggle with having the confidence to go after our dreams?
Just start!! Stop thinking so much about it. If you want to paint, paint. If you want to blog, blog. If you’re not going to take the leap now, then when? That was what I asked myself when I first started selling art on Etsy. I was so intimidated to hit the “publish” button for my shop. But here’s the thing—even if you fail, at least you know you tried. It’s like that cliche quote—you miss 100% of the shots you never take. Plus, even if you fail a few times and then some, you’ll learn SO much just by doing. My first website, blog post, instagram photos, etc. were all terrible, but I’ve learned so much just by trying and putting it out there, and I know my confidence has also grown so much in the process. Even now, I’m sometimes afraid that my work won’t get a positive response. Whenever I feel that insecurity taking over though, I always remind myself that even if my worst fears did come true, I’d still be able to paint.
Some of our favorite pieces of yours are the ones that include fun, motivational quotes. What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
My dad has always said to me, “just do your best and that’s all you can do.” I’m always repeating that in my mind!
We’re big believers in living the little things – which is why we love your passion for celebrating the every day things! What are some ways that you try to live intentionally each day?
Expressing gratitude for everything I have, smiling at others, getting outside, and making time for the things (art) and people I love.