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Rising Stars: Meet Owen Murphy

Today we’d like to introduce you to Owen Murphy.

Alright, so thank you so much for sharing your story and insight with our readers. To kick things off, can you tell us a bit about how you got started?
I have always been drawn to art. My dad is an artist as well so it runs in the family. I took a class at Salisbury University that covered the history of poster design and the teacher had us design several posters in different styles throughout the last 150 years. As a fan of music, I was enamored by the old Fillmore and Avalon Ballroom posters from the ’60s.

After graduation, I started doing flyers for local shows and musicians. That turned into doing a lot of t-shirts and posters for bands in Baltimore. For the first few years, I would do it for weed money or free entry to the shows. Then, I learned about screen-printed posters so I could make some extra cash. It was a fun creative outlet so I kept doing it.

Eventually, I was making enough money from it to quit my office job and it snowballed into what it is today.

Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
Becoming a self-employed artist has been everything but a smooth road. There were a lot of mistakes made which were really just learning experiences. Everything is channeled from somewhere through your mind and onto paper. If you don’t make an effort to take care of your mental health, you’re going to have a bad time.

Being in the music scene, it was easy to get caught up in the party atmosphere which can drain your energy but I had an epiphany and realized I needed to buckle down and take this more seriously if I was going to be successfully self-employed. I have to wear a lot of hats and do everything so I need that energy until I can figure out how to delegate certain tasks to people I trust.

Can you tell our readers more about what you do and what you think sets you apart from others?
The illustration is my trade. I specialize in band merch but specifically, screen-printed gig posters. I haven’t done many nonband related art prints yet because I stay so busy with bands and tours. I’m most proud of starting from scratch and growing my brand to the point where I’m collaborating with bands I grew up being listening to.

The one piece of art that grabbed my attention was Rick Griffin’s art for the Grateful Dead’s album Aoxomoxoa. Now, the Grateful Dead’s most current form hires me for art. It’s pretty surreal. After years of practice, I have developed a recognizable style of my own and I am forever grateful l that it’s getting noticed and I can do what I do for a living.

Is there any advice you’d like to share with our readers who might just be starting out?
Don’t quit. Stay humble. Be coachable. You can always learn more and be better. Art is not a competition with other people. It’s a competition with yourself. I can’t say I wish I knew something starting out because I wouldn’t be the same person I am today without the experiences I had to endure.

I’m pretty happy with who I am and where I am going. It took me a while to be able to say that honestly.

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