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My Journey to Becoming a Full-Time Artist

Updated: Aug 1

I always knew that I wanted to live a creative life.


When I was younger I dreamed of being on a stage: singing, dancing, acting, entertaining. I spent my childhood participating in every musical at my school, taking dance classes, and singing in all the choirs I could possibly join. I loved drawing and was fascinated by lettering and design. I was always doodling in the sidelines of my notes and coming up with my own fonts.


I moved to NYC from a small town on Long Island when I was 18 years old to attend Pace University for Acting. And as all hopeful actresses do, I started waiting tables to pay the bills.


One day, my manager asked who on the staff would like to write the seasonal specials on the chalkboard in the dining room. The company's creative team made the designs and asked each store to implement them. I eagerly volunteered to draw the specials in exchange for a free lunch.


After rewriting the board three times (hello perfectionism!) I stepped away from the chalkboard with delight! I couldn't believe how much fun I had drawing this chalkboard - and I even got a free meal!!


Three months later it was time to implement the new design, and a manager at another location sent an email to the other NY managers asking if they had anyone at their stores who would come to their location to draw their board... and they were offering $30! Getting paid to draw?! Hell yah I wanted the gig!




Three months later our district manager came to our store to review the seasonal specials with the team, and he loved the chalkboard! He asked who drew it and then requested that I travel to the 5 other locations he oversaw... now for $50 a board!


This continued happening season after season and a year and a half after I started I became the Regional Chalkboard Artist of New York for Le Pain Quotidien. I negotiated my pay and got to travel all around New York lettering menus and promotional designs on chalkboards in each cafe.


Around 2015 I started networking and offering my services to other cafes. I got to meet amazing business owners across Manhattan and Brooklyn and fell in love with the art of lettering.




As I continued to grow my business via menu and chalkboard designs I started to teach myself how to use a pen and nib & began to post on social media. I grew my community on Instagram as I posted my progress and shared all the typefaces that I learned to letter.


Since then I have grown steadily and have loved the process.


I've been lucky enough to work with companies like Magnolia Bakery, Red Bull, and have even created large scale murals for ADP.




Shortly after moving to Nashville in August 2019, Sip & Script reached out to me on Instagram about teaching calligraphy classes with them and I was overjoyed! We spoke in February 2020 & I joined the team. Since then, I have had the pleasure of teaching over 300 students and continue to learn more about calligraphy & the different styles of script.


In April 2022, I moved to Atlanta to continue to grow my business and learn more about the craft. Since I have come to this wonderful city I have sold out calligraphy classes, installed multiple murals, and connected with so many talented creatives!


If I didn't say yes to that very first chalkboard gig, who knows where I would be right now?!




I share my story with you because it all started with following my heart. Everything that I do now is because I said YES to something I had no experience with, but something that I was passionate about.


We ALL start somewhere! We all start with nothing but desire, hope, and a willingness to do the work.


Whether you are a new calligrapher, a seasoned watercolor artist, or a non-creative looking to expand your horizons I am here to tell you that you can do ANYTHING your heart desires.


Want to connect further? Follow me on Instagram and send me a DM!


Until then,

happy lettering!


xo,

Arie

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