Artist Interview with Shawn Petite
Artist Shawn Petite offers advice into creating an art career by creating online art classes and selling merchandise.
Shawn Petite Bio
Well Hello There!
My name is Shawn Petite and I’m a mixed media artist living my dream of creating every day and my passion for art has been with me from childhood.
I’ve been teaching and painting for over 30 years in many different mediums, but found my art soul mate in mixed media.
I produce my own line of stencils, create soulful and informative online workshops on mixed media and sell my art originals, prints and products.
But most importantly, I try everyday to encourage, uplift and give meaning to our everyday life and to share how to do that through mixed media art. To show love with my paint brush and to leave my little corner of the world a better place.
My favorite quote: I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel. “ Maya Angelou
Please tell us about your art business?
I teach other creatives, even if they don’t think they’re creative, to find their story through mixed media art. The way that I do that is through online workshops that cover all areas of mixed media from beginner workshops, art journaling and to more detailed texture making workshops. I also offer free weekly videos to give inspiration on your art journey.I also have my own line of stencils to help make creating easy and fun and collage elements to add to your mixed media work.
I also share my own original, prints and other products with my art in my shop.
My main mission with my business is to encourage, uplift and give meaning to our everyday life and to share how to do that through mixed media art.
Please tell us about your art background?
I don’t have a formal art degree. My degree is in interior design. Way back in the day (more than 20 years ago!) when we did our presentations to a client we would put together a presentation board.
What you might call a mood board today. Cutting fabrics, textures, tiles, paint colors and putting them together to present to the client, it was there that I learned what my love was. Cutting, gluing, clipping, tearing and putting it all back together to make something beautiful!
And I take that with me every time I create today
How did you get started teaching online courses?
I started teaching online courses about 7 years ago. I wanted to reach more people and everything was moving to the internet, so I thought I would too.
That first workshop is still in my shop, The lighting is not great, my style has changed and it’s a bit messy compared to my workshops now. I kinda cringe a little when I watch it, but I leave it in the shop because, it’s a reminder to me and all those that are beginning that, everyone starts as a beginner, and we grow and evolve and become better at whatever we are striving to do. The content is still good but man it is rough.
It didn’t sell very well when I launched, because I was new to the online world at that point, but today it’s one of my best sellers.
Do you think that creating online art classes is a good way for artists to build a business around their art?
Workshops are an incredible way to build a business. I think it’s the best way! Workshops are my best revenue streams. Today with phones and simple lighting, workshops can be relatively inexpensive to create and can reach so many!
As I grew my business I was able to invest in better equipment and take a few courses that helped me create a better quality video. The best way to get better at creating an online video or workshop is just do it. You learn as you go.
Do you have any advice for artists considering teaching their own art classes?
The best advice it start. Get on youtube and do free videos. You don’t have to give all your secrets away. Just give, give and then give some more to get a following and then create the workshop that’s in your heart. That excites you…. and then talk about it ….. and tell people why your so excited about this workshop and most importantly HOW it will help them….. then, people will want to take a workshop from you. But you can’t sell anything unless you have eyes on you. So you have to be present in all social arenas.
You sell many types of products with your artwork, do you recommend this as a path for artists?
I have found with my business that it takes multiple revenue streams to make a living. If I chose just to sell art, or just to sell workshops, it wouldn’t be enough to support me and my family, But when I can offer all the things, prints, stencils, workshops, collage elements etc. They all work together. And yes it does provide a good living. But it also takes a lot of work. AND, it didn’t happen all at once, it has been a process of trial and error and adding a product and then it not selling and trying something different. Time is the key and being patient. But again, you have to start, just begin and take one step at a time!
What products are the most popular?
My most popular products are my stencils. But the most revenue is from online workshops.
What platform do you use to create and sell the merchandise?
I use a program called Ecwid and I started using them because it was free. It’s a great system that has grown with me as my business has grown. There are a lot of systems out there to get a shop up and running that are simple and easy.
What advice do you have for artists aspiring to create a business around their art?
This is a deep question. There are so many levels to creating a business. I think the number one thing that I would tell anyone wanting to start is…. be willing to make sacrifices whether that be time, money, fun. I ran my company by myself for many years and I was so deeply committed to making it work that I gave up a paycheck, I worked to wee hours in the morning, I didn’t go to events to work on what needed to be done.
The second part is finding your “why”….. Why do you want to start this business? Because that “why”, needs to be so deeply rooted in you that when you are making all the sacrifices, it keeps you going.
My “whys” – I wanted to make a difference for my family and be able to provide for them. I wanted to make a difference in the lives of those who were creating with me. I wanted to leave a positive encouraging legacy.
The last thing about starting a creative or any business is…… It’s a journey, a long haul. It doesn’t happen overnight. I think everyone wants all the success and money right now and that’s not how it works. It. takes. time.
Shawn Petite’s most popular online art class teaches you step-by-step ways to create backgrounds in your paintings. For the beginner all the way to the advanced artist. Gain more confidence in forming luscious layers of depth and texture.