Here I am... ONE YEAR into building a brand. I have had so many people ask me how this started? It started with a vision, an idea, something I have about 422 times per day. But on July 15th 2017, I picked an idea that I could execute in a relatively small amount of time. I threw some cash at all of the products, which my husband rolled his eyes at because in his mind he was thinking... "Here she goes again." But he was helpful that day, as usual, and I was able to create a one-of-a-kind desk that I still work from today! But this idea didn't start as "I want to build a brand!" It just started as something I wanted to do for me. Last July can only be explained as a Creative Awakening. I did a Paint & Pour type class on our family vacation. We painted a small boat on a lake with some trees and I think it was at night, so the colors were dark. It really wasn't my type of art, I do not like to make things look "real." After that I came home and had the desk idea, executed that and put the process on Facebook. You guys LOVED it! And asked if I could put it on canvas? I wasn't sure but I did have some canvases laying around so I used my extra product (lets be real, bought additional product!) and did my first 3 paintings. I painted in the 100 degree Texas temps, outside, under my gazebo with the mosquito nets closed to try and keep out as many bugs and as much debris as possible. The first 3 paintings were: Badass, Warrior, and Escaping the Storm. Remember those? Badass was my first "commission" but my friend Caytie gave me no direction, just said paint me something. SWEET! At the end of July, I did an Abstract Painting workshop put on by Laura Mayberry. She is a fellow Fort Worth Abstract Artist. I LOVE her work! That night was more fuel on the fire that was my creative awakening in the making. Social media is a magical tool because I posted the paintings, you guys loved them, and a friend of a friend found me. "You're an artist? I am looking for a few abstracts like the ones in your photos." WOAH, am I an Artist?? "Yes! Taking orders for custom pieces currently." WHAT DID I JUST SAY!!?? I don't know what I'm doing... But it's fun!! And I can totally do this. And just like that, I had my first GIANT commission. 48x72" Ride the Wave. This client has turned into a friend and is my most creative client who gives me the most challenging projects to figure out. Like that one time I had to plank to reach the middle of one of the paintings I was pouring for him. (Thank you The Pilates Concept for making me strong!) Want to book a commission with me? CLICK HERE Around this time I also decided to say yes to my first art fair, Arts Goggle. I remember reaching out to an artist friend after signing up for this and said, "How many pieces do you think I will need for this?" She responded with something crazy like 100 and I was like... ummmmmm... what have I gotten my self into now!? I decided to just do as much as I could and figure it out. Arts Goggle turned out to be a Divine Appointment. This is the day and place that my relationship with Brookwood in Georgetown (BiG) began. There in front of Craftwork Coffee I met Erin Kiltz, the Founder of BiG. (PS. Her son owns Craftwork!) My conversation with Erin led to inviting her and 2 other team members into my studio and then they invited me to be the Featured Collaborative Artist for the Art Auction. WHAT!? This was where I was like... huh?... I am certain there are many many other artists out there that would be more qualified? Anyway, I said YES! And then spent two days pouring with the Citizens at BiG. You can learn more about our work together here. The paintings we created together raised almost $70,000 in their live auction!! I just could NOT believe it. I had an out of body experience that night as the numbers climbed higher and higher. But then I remembered the Divine Appointment with Erin in front of Craftwork. It was part of the plan. Not my plan, but God's plan. The Fall of 2017 was a time of fast and furious work. My friend Jaime was so intrigued with each painting and the process, she was often in my studio dreaming up colors and on a mission to figure out how to turn the drips from my paintings into something worth keeping. Through those conversations the Art Pop was born! I catch the drips from my work in silicone molds. No two Art Pops are alike which is super fun! You can use them as coasters, desk art, paper weights... really anything you could dream up. I sold over 100 Art Pops before Christmas last year and I didn't start making them until mid October. WOWZA! Make sure and order your Art Pops if you are longing for some. The gift giving season will be here before you know it. I absolutely LOVE every single painting I ever do. I know, I know, you do too. ;) So I was a little sad when it was time to give them to the client. Happy for a pay day but I put my soul and energy into each one so it is a piece of me that walks out the door. A light bulb went off last Fall and I dreamed up putting my art onto clothing. My passion is fashion so why not Art as Fashion!? The first product I was able to produce continues to be my best seller, leggings. I have been doing Pilates and Yoga 3-5 times per week for the last 2 years now and I was really tired of black leggings. BORING. Give me some inspiration! Some motivation! A reason to WANT to get up and workout!! Bright, colorful leggings will definitely do the trick. In fact, don't just take my word for it, check out what Dorrie from the Senior Style Bible thinks. She is an 80 something yr old former Playboy Bunny who is also tired of the lame choices women her age have for fashion. Doesn't she look FAB in AlanaKayART leggings!? Because I have 422 ideas or more per day, my brain just kept moving and dreaming. Which led me to other clothing items and searching for manufacturers. I sampled 12 different items from 10 different manufacturers and finally launched additional products that include a skirt, a scarf, and acrylic trays. Today there are more items in the works and I have to say, product development really fuels my soul. It makes me feel like a kid to dream up fun shapes, color combinations, and finished products. ONE YEAR ACCOMPLISHMENTS 30 large paintings Dozens of smaller paintings Hundreds of Art Pops 20 styles of leggings 3 skirts 3 scarves 2 tables 7 collaboration paintings with BiG 4 donated large paintings Spread my wings to Las Vegas, Dallas, Houston, NYC, LA, Monaco 1 pour experience (you can book one!) Countless sampled products not yet in production Soon to begin the friends and family funding stage A few people have reminded me recently of all that I have accomplished in one year. When you are living it, setting goals, and working it each day it is hard to see all that you have actually accomplished. But I do see it. And I am proud of it! The goal setter inside of me knows I am no where near where I want to be but if the first year is any indication of what is to come, thank goodness I renewed my passport. The AlanaKayART brand has taken me places I only dreamed of going before. People call me a Designer, a Fashion Designer. How freaking cool is that!? For you, maybe not that cool but for the little girl that made a dress out of a crocheted blanket and some hair bows it is amazing! I am so excited to see what year two holds for AlanaKayART!! I fully accept that this was all in God's plan all along. I would not have been ready for this without experiencing some other things in life first. I would not have had the time to really give it my all or want to give it my all if some really sad events had not changed my availability. I remember so many conversations with friends where I was feeling so antsy, so bored, like I should be accomplishing more. I really believed I was put on this earth for more so why wasn't I doing more? I gave into His timing not my own and the next thing I know I was saying YES to crazy things I could have never dreamed up on my own! CHEERS to AlanaKayART!! And a huge THANK YOU for all of you who continue to buy products, book commissions, send encouraging notes, and share my social media. You really are the fuel, my fuel. I cannot and will not ever do this on my own. I realize that I am where I am today because of other people. Happy Birthday to my dream in the making!