Instagram is where I started my brand. It’s a great space for displaying a portfolio, getting clients, and gaining inspiration. Although, sometimes it’s too much inspiration all at once. It gets overwhelming and I start to compare myself to others. I’m paralyzed by indecision and the negative self talk starts. I think this is a pattern that rings true for a lot of people, on Instagram and otherwise, and it’s my goal to break it. I’m starting this section of the blog, called “Portraits,” to highlight inspirational, creative women. I’m seeking to stop the comparison by painting (literally and figuratively) these women in a relatable light while also cheering on the amazing things they’re doing.
I thought to start out the series, I’d paint a self-portrait. It’s hard to know how forthcoming I should be on this platform, and throughout social media. It’s a delicate balance of sharing enough but not too much. Hopefully I can give you a little more insight into the artist behind the work. Here’s a little bit about me:
My artistic journey began when I was in middle school. I noticed I had an aptitude for drawing portraits in art class. I continued pursuing my art through high school and majored in Fine Arts at USC. My senior year I began interning for Vogue Magazine. After graduating I worked for the magazine for some time, but eventually realized that I was ignoring my creative side. I decided to start drawing on the side and posting the results on Instagram. I sketched products that I liked, editorials that inspired me, and models I admired. The more I worked on my side project, the more I realized I was onto something. People were reaching out to me for commissions and my Instagram was gaining engagement. Cut to about a year later and I’ve made the jump to pursing my business full time.
Working independently is hard, I’m not going to lie. I’ve only been freelancing for a number of months so I’m just getting the hang of it. It’s hard because there’s not a boss telling you what you need to accomplish for the day, or giving you the go ahead to leave for the night. Lately I’ve been working 12 hour days almost 7 days a week. My personality is on the extreme side so I’m trying to find some balance, but it’s hard. I’m seeking creative outlets apart from my business like sewing or playing the guitar to keep me sane. I try to give myself breaks so that I don’t burn out.
Staying inspired is difficult when you’re working on bringing other peoples visions to life. It’s why I make sure to post original content on my blog and Instagram. I don’t want to loose sight of that motivation and inspiration I felt when I first started Ellie Du Jour. Art is probably my number one inspiration. I am constantly looking at other artists Instagram, researching art online, and going to exhibits at museums. Fashion and beauty are obviously topics that also inspire me. Additionally, I’m passionate about living a healthy lifestyle. I’m planning to start including some of these health and lifestyle related topics here on the blog in the coming months.
It’s hard to give advice to other creatives because I feel like I’m just starting out, but I’ll speak from my own experience. The times I’ve experienced the biggest growth on Instagram and on my blog is when I’m consistent. Try to find consistency in the visual aesthetic of your brand and what your posting, consistency in the regularity of posting, and even consistency in the time of day you’re posting. Also, tying back to my opening statement (the reason I started this section of the blog), don’t spend time comparing yourself to others. Instagram can be a black hole that sucks you in for hours. Spend that time and energy creating and working on your art or business. Finally, stay true to yourself. People are drawn to authenticity. Don’t feel like you have to manufacture a life for others. Just do you.
Rapid Fire Questions:
Coffee or tea: Coffee, although I’m constantly trying to kick the habit. I’m totally addicted.
Book that has been part of your creative journey: Too many to list, but the latest is Twyla Tharp’s “The Creative Habit”
Early or late riser: Late! I love to sleep in.
Rigid or free flowing routine: Free flowing- it’s why I’m a freelancer!
Creative wardrobe essential: Right now I’m super into my Fenty x Puma fur slides. They’re so easy to throw on.
Beauty rituals that keep you sane: Glossier masks
Go-to brunch: The Butcher’s Daughter on Abbot Kinney in Venice
Spot you go for inspiration: I like to stay up to date on the latest museum shows. One of the most inspirational I’ve ever seen is Mike Kelly’s retrospective at MoMA PS1
Music on blast while working: I’m going through a Drake phase right now. Totally and completely not representative of my music taste, but still loving it.