Erica Wildman has become a rising star in the local Austin art scene. She’s had work featured most recently at The Bites & Beats charity event.
I recently had the chance to interview Erica and I received way more than I bargained for. She reinvigorated the passion in me and re-inspired me to understand what entrepreneurship and success is all about…
Which isn’t money. It’s about hard work, dedication, passion, and purpose.
This interview is truly inspiring and I’m so grateful and pleased to be able to share it with you today.
This interview is unlike any other we’ve conducted before. It was conducted through a live chat session, so the format is much more dialog-driven, engaging, and personal.
Here it is… Enjoy!
What kind of art do you create?
I create original abstract art – with a passion for large canvas.
So what inspired you to become an artist?
I happened to stumble upon being an artist. I was in real estate finance for 12 years and had a fairly large office. I decided to paint something myself. Once I finished it I hung it up in my office and it was admired by a gentlemen that owned a small art gallery.
Did you give up your lucrative career in real estate finance to become an artist? If so, did you have the support of your friends and families?
Yes. I gave up a 6-figure salary. My family learned very early on that I am a free spirit, so they’ve learned to support me early on. I think a lot of people thought it was a joke… but they have seen that I’m VERY serious about it and treat it very much like a business.
Did you ever have any formal art training?
No. I have never taken an art class in my entire life – that used to make me very insecure but now I embrace and feel like the lack of education allows my creative”ness” to take over.
I’ve been selling ONLY my art for 6 months and just sold my 50th piece.
That’s incredible! How did you create such incredible success so quickly?
I work hard, network like crazy and follow up on every lead that I’m given. Bottom line… I work VERY hard at each sell I make.
So it sounds like art is your full time career. Many artists struggle to pursue art as a full time career. Have you found it possible to maintain a comfortable standard of living as an artist?
Yes. I feel like to make yourself truly successful you have to focus on one thing at a time. That’s what works for me. I wake up a 7:00 A.M. every morning and work a “full time” job just like everyone else. I’m able to maintain a standard of living because once I decided to take this path I downsized a lot in my life.
How quickly did you decide to leave your successful 6-figure career before you decided to pursue art full time and how difficult was the transition?
This is a question full of a lot of twist and turns. I started painting in 2006. I stopped officially working in real estate in 2008. However, I opened a boutique with my art and other arts I made (candles, jewelry and etc). I owned that for over a year. In May of 2010 I decided to focus on my canvas art only. It was then that my sells started soaring.
I guess to answer that question simply it was in 2008 that I stopped to pursue my love of art.
So I see that you lived in San Francisco for awhile. What made you move to Austin?
I’m from Austin and lived in San Francisco for 7 years. I moved back almost 2 years ago. I wanted to be back near my family.
You seem to have really taken all the right steps to pursue your passion and maintain a comfortable standard of living. What advice could you give other artists or new entrepreneurs who are trying to break into business?
My advice is:
Where can people purchase your art?
They can purchase online at www.EricaWildman.com and view my art at the events I have around Austin monthly by signing up for news letter.
What do you think defines a good artist?
Their happiness!!! If they are proud of their work and they are happy with what they have made then they are defined as a good artist in my eyes.
About The Author:
Michael Priceless is the Editor in Chief and founder of NothingButAustin.com. Michael enjoys the finer things in life such as great conversations, fun, friends, family, and love. If you don’t know Michael… Get to know him. He could help change your life!
Quote: “A visionary sees into the future by accepting and if necessary altering his(her) current reality to fit that which is necessary for him(her).”