Canvas Rebel Interview

Canvas Rebel Interview

Originally seen online at:
Alright, Haley thanks for taking the time to share your stories and insights with us today. What’s been the most meaningful project you’ve worked on?

As a full time artist, I’ve had the opportunity to work with many incredible human beings. I am a figurative artist, and I specialize in nude portraiture for women. My clientele are women who seek another portal to share their story and through the vulnerable act of nude portraiture, feel empowered to soften into exactly who they are, defying taboo and judgement.

Over the years I’ve been a professional artist, I would say each client is extremely meaningful in her own way. Once I became a mother, one client in particular stood out to me, as she wanted to be drawn breastfeeding her baby. This was her last baby and thus her last time breastfeeding. It was an extremely emotional moment for me, I was pregnant during our Drawing Session, so I learned and observed a lot. It was an honor to be asked to help this mother represent this moment in her life, and reaffirmed my vocation in life – to empower all women.

Haley, before we move on to more of these sorts of questions, can you take some time to bring our readers up to speed on you and what you do?

I am a full time artist based in Houston, Texas. I am a figurative artist that specializes in custom nude portraiture for women, called The Empowered Portrait. As a little girl, I knew I wanted to be an artist, and am so thankful to my parents for encouraging that skillset and passion through art classes and materials, etc. My mother was a single mother and always made sure, even given our situation, that I would have the extracurricular art classes I desired.”

At 14 years old, I had the opportunity to participate in live drawing sessions with a figure model. The youngest by 20+ years, I learned to appreciate the nude figure for its shapes, lines, form, and story telling, and was guided to look past the taboo of nudity.

Having attended Parsons, The American University of Rome, and Rollins College, I studied studio art, art history, travelled, and grew my signature, lyrical style. Throughout my academic pursuits, the figure never left me, it was a constant throughout my portfolio.

In addition to studying art, I received my RYT-200 yoga teacher training, and my Integrative Health Coaching Certification. I believe God always has a plan, even when the path seems hazy. In trying to build my art practice, I taught yoga and coached individuals on healthier lifestyles. Throughout this line of work, I continued to create art, and saw my connection with human beings deepen. Using my background of yoga and understanding of anatomy and human emotion, and through the training of health coaching, I hosted my first female client for her portrait and saw all my worlds blend. I was able to hold space for her, in her vulnerable state, help guide her into poses that evoked the story she wanted to share, and capture her figure onto a 2D platform with purpose and foundational understanding.

I believe that my background of academia, additional certificates and courses, and passion for figurative art landed me with a career that is my vocation and my deepest passion.

I am most proud of this work. I could not and would not be able to do what I do without the support of my family throughout my development, and without my husband by my side. My husband, Michael, always knew this was my path, when I was juggling the worlds of yoga/health coaching/and art, he believed in me. Michael now works with me, helping me run this business. We have a son together, which has given us more drive and efficiency than we ever imagined. Working together to make this business grow has been so rewarding, has given us the flexibility to spend time with one another and our son, and has provided me with a firm ground to hold space for women and help them see themselves in another unique way.

We’d love to hear a story of resilience from your journey.

In 2020, Michael lost his job and at the time I was a full time artist. This was a very scary moment for us as we had a house to pay for and uncertainty on the horizon. I am a big believer in taking risks. In this moment, my business was growing steadily and we didn’t have our son yet. Michael and I decided to both focus on our entrepreneurial goals and support one another in these dreams. Michael worked in a startup and I continued my art business. From 2020 to the present, we suspended extraneous spending, focused firmly on the growth of our business, and began weekly meetings. Now, Michael works with me full time, helping me run my art business, has since left the startup, and together he and I have watched a very uncertain time in our lives pay off. We have the flexibility to be with our son and watch him grow up.

In moments of doubt and fear, we turn to one another. It is not easy to grow a business. Through patience, trust, and good quality work, we have seen our efforts pay off.

I believe everything that seemed to have gone wrong a few years ago led us to where we are now, full time entrepreneurs.

Do you think there is something that non-creatives might struggle to understand about your journey as a creative? Maybe you can shed some light?

I have had a lot of people throughout my life tell me many “should”s. You “should” get a full time job and paint as a hobby. You “should” let Michael work and be a stay at home mom. You “should” do this when you’re retired.

I think non-creatives can hear these messages and look at the depth of what they are silencing. In the line of work I do, I hold space for a women, fully-nude, to help her feel empowered about herself, her life, her body, and this is all done through the classical means of art. Without art, without this practice, a woman would miss a private, sacred act of empowerment through her vulnerability.

I believe God gives us each a talent to help us communicate with the world and one another. If I abruptly stopped this work because I “should”, this glimmer of light in the world would vanish. How could I not share this talent? Am I meant to hold this talent captive until it “should” reappear? I choose to move past the “shoulds” and forward with my vocation. A quote I live by is, “If you work really hard, and you’re kind, amazing things will happen”. I want to continue to see amazing things happen.

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