Laly Mille Bio
Hi, I’m Laly Mille. I’m a mixed media artist living in the beautiful Loire Valley of France. I believe that art connects us to the deepest, most beautiful parts of ourselves, and that beauty and creativity have the power to change the world in magical ways. Through my online workshops, I guide and inspire like-minded creatives from all over the world to shine their light and grow their artist wings. I’m on a journey of wonder and discovery, and I’d love for you to join me!
Please tell us about your art business?
I’m a mixed media artist and online creative guide. I only found out I was an artist in my thirties, and almost right from the start it became clear that this was not just about me, but that I wanted to share the gifts of art and creativity with others. I started blogging, getting my art published, and after a few years I took a life-changing leap of faith and started teaching. I love to connect with others in what has become a beautiful, supportive, worldwide community.
Collaborating with magazines is a real joy and I feel very lucky to have my art in the pages and on the covers of several inspiring publications. The latest one is the Summer 2020 issue of Somerset Studio.
I also exhibit my art at local group shows and do a solo show from time to time, but since my audience is very international, I prefer to sell my art online. I participate in an online auction once a year and it is such a fun, exciting event!
My blog and online workshops are where I share everything about my art and my journey as an artist. I’m very open when it comes to sharing my creative process, I don’t hold anything back and I like to share more than just techniques and projects, but also how to find inspiration, deal with challenges and develop your personal voice. I believe that art is one of the closest things to magic that we can experience in our lives, it connects us to the deepest, most beautiful parts of ourselves and can have such a powerful impact in the world. Joy, gentleness and a sense of wonder come through everything I create, be it art or classes.
Please tell us about your art background?
I am mostly self-taught. I discovered mixed media art at 32 and it was like being born again. I immediately embraced the playfulness of the process, purchased one book after the next and started experimenting with any supplies I could put my hands on. This is still true today!
How did you get started teaching online courses?
I started teaching, both online and at local live workshops, in 2016. I had longed to start teaching for quite a while but I’m an introvert so it felt scary too! The idea of teaching online appealed to me because of that, and it has turned out to be a great fit for me.
For at least a year before I released my first class, there had been a growing demand from my online community, so when I finally opened the doors to “Layers of Light”, there was a very full waiting list and it was successful from the start. It is designed as a beautiful journey to help you find your own creative spark and infuse it into your art, while discovering all my favorite mixed art techniques! It is still one of my most popular classes today.
Do you think that creating online art classes is a good way for artists to build a business around their art?
Teaching online has certainly changed my life, and that of my family, in the best of ways. My husband and I now work together from home, which we love. But I wouldn’t say that it will be a good fit for every artist. For me, it was clear from the start that making art was going to be about sharing the joy of creativity with an audience and I had a strong desire to teach. I’ve always loved to write and share about my process, but being a teacher is a job in itself and it took me several years before I felt confident enough to step into that role. I gave a lot of thought to the kind of teacher I wanted to be, what I wanted the students to get from my classes and how best to serve them. I got a lot of training too: I trained for two years as a a social and cultural activities organizer and got a national diploma here in France. For 9 months I facilitated workshops and led artistic projects at a nursing home, working in an Alzheimer’s unit, and at a rehabilitation center. Simultaneously I became a certified creativity coach through Whitney Freya’s online program. All of it has taught me so much about the impact of creativity on human beings, and the best ways for me to guide others on that beautiful path.
I’m not saying that so much training is necessary to teach online (there was certainly a bit of procrastination on my part!) but being an artist and a teacher are two very different things. When they work hand in hand, it can be magical, but you do have to ask yourself the right questions before you start, if you want to make it a fulfilling experience both for you and the participants. To me, guiding others towards their creative dreams is a big responsibility, I don’t take it lightly and I wouldn’t encourage any artist to embark on the teaching path unless they are really committed and motivated.
Can artists make a living selling their artwork?
I’m sure it is possible to make a living selling your art, and of course you have to define for yourself what “making a living” means to you! Personally I would need to produce a lot more art and devote a lot of time and energy to promoting it, which wouldn’t be compatible with teaching.
I have never worked with galleries and I’m not sure this would suit me because I love to connect with my collectors, which galleries seldom allow you to do. On the contrary, the online events I participate in once a year are a wonderful, fun way to celebrate art with my community and an opportunity for them to purchase my latest pieces. It is such a joy to prepare all the parcels afterwards and send them to their new homes!
How important is social media for promoting your work and building an audience?
Social media is important for day-to-day interaction with my community but to me it can be extremely time-consuming and overwhelming. To me it’s important to find the one or two platforms that work best for you and your audience, and stick to them. My favorite is Instagram. But social media is much less important than the connection I build with my audience through my blog, newsletter and classes.
What advice do you have for artists aspiring to create a business around their art? (
The first thing is to share what really matters to you, what you create, in your own authentic way. Be true to yourself, always.
The next, most important advice I could give you is to start building your email list: this is the most effective way to create a personal connection with your audience. Send them inspiration from time to time, let them know what you’re up to. And whenever you create an offering for them, you’ll have a much better chance of them seeing it than if you relied only on social media.
We all have different personalities, so to me, building a business is really about taking the time to find your own way. What would your ideal business look like, and most importantly FEEL like to you? What skills do you already have? What would be so exciting and fun to learn? Equally important: what would definitely NOT fit your personality, what makes you cringe and feel uncomfortable? (Teaching a large live group? Not for me!) Your business needs to make you happy, fulfilled and confident for many many years. There’s no recipe and you can approach it just as you would a work of art: it can be anything you want it to be, anything you can dream of, as long as you follow you own inner compass.
What if you were a light seeker? What if your unique creative spark was just a few brushstrokes away?…
In this in-depth mixed media art class, I’m sharing all my favorite painting techniques through soulful and nurturing painting projects, journaling prompts and creative exercises that will inspire you to shine!
Laly Mille Links
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