Today we’d like to introduce you to Nicole Mueller and Amanda Adams.
Alright, thank you for sharing your story and insight with our readers. To kick things off, how did you get started?
Beyond the Studio was started in 2017 as a way to have candid conversations with other visual artists about how they’re building their careers and sustaining their lives. We thought that starting a podcast would be the most accessible way to share these interviews with other people. We had each graduated from the Maryland Institute College of Art (as Painting and Photography majors, respectively). We had spent the first five years after graduation navigating the start of our careers, working numerous jobs or creative gigs, and trying to get our businesses off the ground. We had so many questions when it came to the practical side of making a living as an artist, and frankly didn’t feel there was enough emphasis on professional development in art school.
At the time, there weren’t many resources that catered to emerging artists, so we started Beyond the Studio as a podcast to have open and honest conversations with other visual artists about how they were finding success and making it work. Our goal was to bring more transparency to the art world, especially regarding topics like business, personal finance, gallery relationships, juggling work/life when there’s so much overlap, having multiple income streams as an artist, etc.
Since starting the podcast, we’ve both been able to turn our creative pursuits into our full-time jobs, and each build our art practice into a sustainable business. We’ve learned so much through our guests and been blown away by the generosity other artists have shown in really opening up about their careers, struggles, and successes. Beyond the Studio has helped broaden our vision of what’s possible, and we hope it continues to do the same for others.
Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
Definitely not! I don’t think there’s such a thing as a traditional career as an artist, but the arts are significantly non-linear compared to other industries. That’s one of the biggest hurdles actually, just realizing that no two artists’ careers will look exactly alike and learning to invent your own path while also learning to define what success looks like for yourself. Artists have to be incredibly self-driven and self-reliant. It’s easy to get discouraged if you don’t realize those feelings of discomfort or of not quite knowing what you’re doing are perfectly normal and are shared by all artists at every stage of their careers. Creative careers are like snowballs. They can take a long time to build, and it’s easy to lose sight as you’re trying to gain momentum of what you’re building towards, especially if you don’t have any guideposts to turn to for support. That’s what we were struggling with the most when we decided to start Beyond the Studio.
Amanda worked as a barista while running her small craft-based business, Close Call Studio, as a side hustle. Nicole worked as a commercial mural artist, then as a college recruiter while maintaining her studio practice as a painter; we both had been hustling for years but felt lost regarding how to get to the next level in our careers. We were each struggling with being in and out of debt and how to make our creative pursuits financially viable and sustainable long term. Beyond the Studio gave us the insights and sense of community we needed for Amanda to turn Close Call Studio into a full-time business and for Nicole to eventually leave her day job and become a painter full-time.
Thanks for sharing that. So, you could tell us a bit more about your work.
Amanda is a multidisciplinary fiber, sculpture, illustration, photography, and video artist. She runs a fiber and illustration business called Close Call Studio out of her home studio in Baltimore, MD, where she creates art objects and makes many cat toys.
Nicole is a full-time painter, muralist, and installation artist, now based in San Francisco, CA. Her work manifests as colorful abstractions that draw on memory, personal psychology, and intuition to celebrate the intersection between external environments and internal or emotional landscapes.
Within the last few years, so much had changed in our lives personally and professionally that we decided to record an updated interview: you can listen to “Amanda Adams talks about mental health, setting healthier boundaries, and aligning your business with personal values”and “Nicole Mueller talks managing large-scale projects, pricing commissions, and leaving behind a day job” for our full stories.
What quality or characteristic is most important to your success?
Persistence is key to being an artist. Learning to find joy in your process will sustain you over time, especially when you feel like you’re not seeing the external success you want. One thing we would attribute to our growth and something all the artists we’ve interviewed have in common: applying an entrepreneurial mindset to their life and work as artists. If you can learn to approach the business side of your work and career with the same level of creativity and curiosity that you bring to your creative practice, you will start to see a shift. Look for ways to grow both professionally and artistically.
- Website: https://beyondthe.
- Instagram: https://www.
- Other: You can listen to Beyond the Studio for free on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you listen to podcasts!
Courtesy of Beyond the Studio