Angelina Wrona

November 2015

The Business of Art with Angelina Wrona

You know you love her work. You know you can get lost in her shop checking out the fabulousness that she offers. You know you’ve always wondered, “how did she make it past the stereotypical starving artist phase?”  We learned how she turned her talent into a multifaceted business that has evolved into an international fan base and where her pieces hang in homes around the world and where her images are now found on cell phone cases, clothing, and home decor.

 

She’s made a successful career with her off-beat, and hauntingly unique art pieces. Her shop is filled with original art pieces, women’s fashion, and jewelry. It’s a mix of slightly bizarre, eclectic, and beautiful.

 

 

She’s So Fabulous Show Notes:

 

Having the courage to step away from a comfortable and traditional career such as nursing and leaping into Art full time was very brave of her. I truly enjoyed her transparency in describing her decision to take that leap and found it interesting to hear about her creative process. {Painting in the living room with a movie on replay as background noise as she paints on her lap surrounded by her tools and paint.}

 

Being unique takes confidence. Knowing that she had talent and a flare for fashion early on and the ability to continue to embrace it, even after failing Grade 10 Art (in your face so-called-art teacher!!) was another memorable experience she shared.

 

Parents, although brought on with the best intention, can often place their own fears, doubts and misgivings onto their children in hopes to instil in them direction towards a career and life that affords comfort. No parent wants to see their child struggle to make ends meet. This lead me to consider this: Are we stifling our children by steering them into a traditional job rather than celebrating their unique drive towards the unconventional career?

 

Knowing your value and having the conviction to fight for your worth as the experts (printing, publishing) keep trying to minimize your portion of the profits is another very brave move she took. I loved it when we all erupted in applause as Angelina shared this story and the decline of the contract renewal. Right on Sista! I also enjoyed the conversation about other people who copy her work or create strikingly similar pieces. She admits that she recognizes the knock offs, but is able to let it go, instead considering it a form of flattery.

 

When asked how she became an international brand she told the story of purchasing an ad in a highly acclaimed magazine in Los Angeles. This provided the right exposure and expanded her reach which lead to invitations for international art shows. I also loved the story about arriving off the plane only to find out that all of her art was sold via VIP pre-viewing shows!

 

Launching her Anarchy Gallery shop took courage but was a natural extension of her art and love of fashion. She also confirmed that she worked there full time, each day for two years before she hired any staff. She has had the shop for 5 years now and has purchased the building in order to maintain her presence in the Merrickville community and expand her services. Her shop now has a second floor as well as her “apartment” space on the third floor. (SheConnex Retreats, Masterminds, and Workshops are all a definite done deal for this location in 2016 !! )

 

She shared that her day begins early and she enjoys having the ability to design her own days to fulfill her desire to paint, cook, attend any of her youngest daughters’ basketball games, and still work at the store. She also mentioned that in the bottom of her house is the “office” where all the printing magic happens for her art. She also mentioned that although she has a need to control, organize, and keep house her second floor has that more “lived in feeling.” Sleep is very important to her and she confirmed that she needs a clearing to get the most out of her creativity. She loves a clean, organized space to work within.

 

She described her best asset at work as being hard-working and showed us her hands to prove it.

 

She is an obvious champion of the young entrepreneur movement in Merrickville and assures us that the community continues to evolve into a “not your mothers Merrickville” vibe. {Many of the young entrepreneurs that were mentioned tonight are schedule to attend our Success Series in 2016} (The Wick-Witch, Paint & Distress, Bullets and Bones Jewelry Co. all can be found in the Merrickville “mall” in the corridor leading to the Yellow Canoe Cafe)

 

She openly discussed the need to continue to expand your product lineup and keep an eye on who is visiting your store, and then consider creating or carrying product lines to fit that customer. She told the story of ladies who ride motorcycles often visiting her store as many riders love to day-trip to Merrickville. She saw the influx of this customer and began carrying items that would resonate with them. She also confirmed that having a wide variety of price points enables all of your customers to have a piece of your art.

 

Create a team that allows you to continue to do the work that best fits you. She mentioned that she has a webmaster who oversees her website and another person who manages some of her social media. She has also expanded her product lineup by collaborating with other artists (Bullets and Bones Jewlery Co) and her own discovery of printing her images onto vintage dishes.

 

She told us that the most difficult question she received tonight came from Danielle Warren who asked if she dealt with those “not good enough” negative thoughts. She said she certainly did, and that she just keeps working through them day by day. She also mentioned after the interview during a conversation with Emily Healy that she’s still uncomfortable receiving praise for her work. Emily Healey agreed that she too feels wired about it when people comment on her art work.

 

I was humbled and thrilled at the same time when Angelina told me that she has turned down multiple requests to do live interviews in the media over the years. So happy that she she said YES to SheConnex!