Name: Tracy Stirzaker
Position: Artist and Business Owner
Location: Sydney, NSW, Australia
I help perceptive women to connect with their spirits and inspire them to believe in themselves, with thought provoking emotive fibre artworks.
My artworks help women to relax and inspires them to do good in the world and to follow their dreams. I help women to reconnect to nature, the earth and their self-worth through emotive fibre art.
What products/services do you offer?
Inspiring Fibre Artworks for your home or office.
A moment of peace and certainty overcomes you when you engage with my original artworks.
The vibe in your home or office will be enhanced as you reconnect with yourself and nature with emotive fibre art. Thought provoking, serene, inspiring and textural original artworks elevate you and your home.
Why did you start your business and how long have you been running it?
My journey as an artist started in childhood, I have always been creating. However, I have been running my art practice as a business since 2017.
In high school I had to choose between art and economics, and you guessed it economics won.
Fast forward though career and kids, I was sitting in the car park after my weekly art class and I turned to my friend and said, ‘This is it, my youngest is starting high school and this is my chance to follow my dream of being an artist.’
I realised I was missing out on loving myself and when I make art if feels like home. I secretly applied to art school, as I was scared that I wasn’t living my true life but wasn’t ready to tell my loved ones.
Art connects with the real me and now I express myself through emotive fibre artworks combining my love of textiles and art.
What struggles do you think most businesses face in your industry and what would you say they need to do to overcome them?
As an artist and creator, I think one of the challenges is marketing myself. I needed to understand social media, identify my target market and actively market myself and my artworks whilst continuing to create artworks and exhibit.
I love creating but I realise that I need to treat it as a business and actively engage with my audience and promote myself. I am still learning all this.
Other challenges include photographing my artworks. Getting good quality photographs to use for multiple purposes such as the website and for different competitions, social media etc. Trying to learn how to be a photographer when want I really want to do is make art.
On a tight budget I have been trying to do everything myself – artist, photographer, website designer, social media expert, marketing.
It helps to seek out other artists and creative types who might have tips but also to outsource some of the tasks so that you can focus on what you do best – making art.
The big learning is that being an artist is a business.
What has been your greatest accomplishment?
Interestingly I have most enjoyed making the artworks and exhibiting. I have had two solo shows and been involved in several group exhibitions in the last couple of years.
The solo shows have been enriching and therapeutic. I have delved deep into my life and expressed myself in my artworks connecting with others and opened communication about
- mental health and the everyday
- self worth and listening to your inner canary
In both my solo shows I created opportunities to meet with potential clients and was able to share my art journey with them. I have loved talking face to face with potential clients.
What has been your biggest ‘fail’ so far?
Time would be my business fail.
I have not managed to dedicate enough time to the business side of being an artist and to the marketing of my business.
What do you love most about your business?
As an artist I really love creating and expressing myself through my artworks. I am a sensitive person and a seeker, making art helps me process the world around me and to reconnect with myself and inspire other sensitive women.
What do you find most challenging?
I think the juggle of life is the most challenging – family, art practice and down time.
I am always thinking about art and artworks, but I also work part time in another capacity and have a family. So, juggling my time and dedicating time to my art practice, looking for opportunities and then also the marketing of my art business – it can be tricky to find a good balance.
How do you promote your business (please include as many details as you can)?
Admittedly I have to practice a little bit more of this. I have
- exhibited in galleries – both solo and group exhibitions
- been a finalist in juried exhibitions
- set up a discussion panel on the role of art in mental health within my solo show exhibition
- held artist talks about me and my art practice
- hosted a yoga session within my art exhibition
- social media – Instagram and facebook page
- set up art for sale on Bluethumb
What business skills do you have (eg. graphic design, customer service)?
It’s a little embarrassing to say that in a past life I did marketing but personally marketing myself as an artist seems different. Maybe it’s a confidence thing.
Other skills include
- Task management
- Small business management
- Word and excel skills
- Love of learning new things
What software did you/your designer use to create your website (eg. WordPress, Wix)?
I laughed when I read this question as my designer was me and my creative young son. Together we looked at the different platforms and decided on Weebly. I designed all the content and my son helped to put it all together and make it live. My son has been a great supporter and key collaborator in my art business.
Having more recently be involved in an Artist Run Initiative (ARI) gallery I had fun designing and setting up the gallery website using Squarespace.
What lessons have you learnt during your time as an entrepreneur?
Truthfully, I have surprised myself, I have learnt and achieved so much and yet have so much more to learn. Luckily, I am determined and love to learn new things.
Be willing to ask for help and seek out opportunities, I am happily surprised at how willing others are to help and support you on your journey.
What is the one thing that you want everyone to take away from this post?
Have faith in yourself and enjoy the journey. There will be challenges along the way and you will find a way through them.