Petra and I have only known each other for about four months, but she is one of those people that you feel like you’ve known forever. Her presence is comforting, her personality is contagious – and her art? Just the same. Although Petra has not always defined herself as an artist, her work speaks volumes of her talent and passion. We recently had time to discuss her journey, both as an artist and as a young person. I think her experiences and persistence will resonate with many of us.
Interview as told to and edited by Maggie Tarasovitch
- Tell us about your company and what you specialize in. What makes your company different?
One of One Impressions specializes in original painting pieces. What’s unique about our business is that every buyer has their choice of charity that they would like a portion of the sale from their piece to contribute to. We love the thought of the piece not only being aesthetically pleasing to the buyer, but also emotionally. We want our work to inspire connection and passion. Although prints produce a much larger profit margin – as an artist creates one piece then machine reproduces it many times at varying sizes – there is something disheartening in that to me. My mother, Jill, paints with me as well. Largely unheard of in the art world, we both paint on every painting, typically simultaneously. Our styles are so similar that the pieces blend without the buyer or spectator being able to tell where my work ends and hers begins. Most of our pieces are locations–everyone has an emotional response to a specific place they’ve traveled, want to travel to, or have grown up.
We want people to do more of what makes their life full and hopefully their new painting encourages that.
- Can you talk about your journey as an artist?
I have not always identified as an artist, although I have painted since I can remember. Most of my life I have felt the weight of outside obligation and expectations, which always told me, “It’s not a realistic profession; it’s a hobby.” I always had big dreams, but, in my mind, I had to accomplish other goals before I could chase them. I had to graduate college, then I could start my life. I had to obtain a sensible career, then I could start my life. I had to make a certain income, then I could start my life. It wasn’t until I did all of that and still wasn’t living the life I wanted that I decided to make change. I quit my comfortable, salaried position for a much lower paying role where I could learn more about how to run a business and make more time for my art.
- What is it about your company and your art that makes you so passionate?
As trite as it sounds, painting and creating is the only thing I do where I lose complete track of my surroundings. I lose track of time, hunger and, really, all thought. That is how I knew I was passionate about it and it was something I had to be doing.
- What skills did you have to learn to start this company?
When it is a two-woman-show (or for a lot of people a one-person-show), you have to learn how to do everything. I have had to learn how to market, how to create an LLC, how to build a website, how to coordinate and execute an event, how to negotiate, how do business taxes, how to invoice, how to create and execute a business model, how to work with a business partner. The learning never stops. Seek help early and often! I have read books, scoured the internet, and asked anyone and everyone for advice. However, that does not mean be impressionable. I had a lot of people tell me to “let go of the charitable aspect,” or “don’t give as much” because “your business will bleed dry.” However, this was not and is not something I am willing to concede on.
If something is important to you, you have to follow through with it.
- What advice would you give someone who is anxious to start a company on their own?
Just go for it! Nothing will ever be 100% perfect and you will never start if you wait for it to be. Think about where you would love to be in 5 years, (dream big, dream HUGE!). Then break that down into 1 year increments. What do you need to accomplish this year to be on track for your 5-year-plan? Now break that down into quarters. What do you need to accomplish in the next 3 months to be on track for your 1-year-plan? Keep breaking it down until you have weekly and daily plans all tracking to your ultimate goal. No matter what happens, don’t stop. Reassess quarterly, evaluate your opportunities and celebrate your wins. And I mean celebrate!
Be honest with yourself, but have fun! That’s the whole point, right?
- And, of course we have to ask. Are you UpByFive?
Does 5:30, Monday through Friday count?
You can find Oglesbee’s work on http://www.oneofoneimpressions.com/
Questions? Please contact Maggie@UpByFive.com