Do you struggle to think of your art as something more than just a hobby?
Well, in today’s episode, Dr Sophia shares exactly how her love for fluid art turned into a custom order of 240 coasters for her local casino’s top clients.
Dr Sophia currently lives in the Bahamas (where she was born and raised), is the owner of Villa Gemella Art House, and considers herself a non-traditionalist artist who loves to explore new genres of art.
This episode is sponsored by Acrylicpouring.com – the leading fluid arts website which provides fluid artists around the world the inspiration and tips they need.
If you are new to fluid arts and want to get started now then go to http://acrylicpouring.com/ to learn the 5 fundamentals of making beautiful acrylic pours for FREE. Also, join their Facebook community where every day artists just like YOU are sharing their newest creations that just might end up on another one of these episodes.
Welcome to another episode, the fluid arts podcast with your host Kévin White. Here, we dive into the wonderful world of fluid arts, including acrylic pouring, alcohol, ink, resin, art, and more. Each episode contains a one-on-one session with talented artists who share their techniques, inspirations and tips for creating amazing fluid art. Whether you want to earn a living making art or improve your work, this podcast is for you. So, please sit back and relax as we take you on a journey to learn more about this exciting and engaging art form.
As always, we have with us a talented artist from our Facebook community, Dr Sophia Rolle. In this episode, she walks us through how she creates her coasters, what it was like to fulfil an order of this size, and how building an art studio in her home led to the ability to focus much more on her craft.
A little about today’s guest
Dr. Sophia Rolle is a university professor of tourism management and graduate student coordinator by day and passionate artist by night. Another fun fact is that she is a former athlete; she played volleyball for the national team.
She started five years ago in 2015. Before then, she was doing traditional art but wasn’t too passionate about it because back then, everything was about landscapes, and she didn’t feel drawn to it as fluid art and abstract art did. So, when she stumbled on the acrylic pouring Facebook page one day, it piqued her interest again, and she began doing her research, spending loads of hours watching videos of methodologies on how to get it right.
Many people often complain about not having enough time, but that didn’t stop her. In her words,
“I do have this intense work that I do during the day, and when I come home, I immerse myself in my newfound passion for fluid art.”
“I think like a professional in my day job, one of the crucial things is making sure you get it right. I’ve made many errors when I first started, but of course, that’s the process. Now, I think I’ve been able to fine-tune my craft to the point where others recognize what I’ve been doing locally, and the art community has accepted my work in this genre of art. So, in a nutshell, is how I began.”
So, let’s talk about coasters and the motivation
Dr. Sophia has shared some of her art coasters in the acrylic pour community, and they’ve raised eyebrows. She tells us more about the coasters, how her clientele grew, her big break and how they serve as motivators.
“Well, I call them my customized designer coasters, because as we all know, fluid art is just that fluid. It doesn’t take on any particular shape. However, sometimes, a client will come to me and say, I want something in some specific colors.”
For the big break,
“Two years ago, another person saw me at the airport, and she asked if I was the person that makes the coasters? And I said yes. She was one of the largest casinos and hotels, the Bahama Casino and Hotel in the country. And she said they wanted to give their high-end clients gifts, something that’s different and special. And that was a huge commission for me because they wanted 60 sets of coasters for their high-end clients, which again tells you that what you are doing, your work is valuable. Even if you may not be sure, you’re good to go once others see the value in it. And so from there, I’ve been able to garner a lot of attention just from the coasters that I do.”
Just as all success stories tell us that hard work and effort pays if you put enough in anything that you do, Dr. Sophia also made her sacrifices and put in a lot of work to ensure she was recognized in her niche. When the coasters were taking up a lot of space in her house, she found a solution, which was an expensive approach; in her words,
“It was around Christmas time. So I’m supposed to cook in here now, and everything is coasters all over my house. That’s okay, though, because I thought that might be a problem; I built a studio. So I now have a dedicated space for my work. And that again speaks to the level of passion that I have for my work because if I were doing this as a hobby, I would continue to do it from my dining room table. And you know everyone cannot afford to build a studio. But I thought that this was important enough to me to make that kind of investment.”
Advice on marketing and sales
First starting with exhibitions, which cost a lot, to digital marketing, Dr. Sophia has this to say,
“First and foremost, this is something that you’ve invested your time, your resources, your energy in. So never discount your work. I mean, we have all seen paintings with one stroke on it that have sold for a million dollars. Right? Okay. So you hear this, you’re, you’re using a lot of materials to produce something. Um, it is quality work that many of us are doing now, yes, we have the hits, and we have the misses. But for the most part, those of us who are diligent students of this craft will produce wonderful pieces. And they and they ought to be sold; they ought.
So the thing is, my community is very small, and that put me at a disadvantage because I have to push even harder, up against all of the bigger, much more well-known artists. For the most part, many of you live in environments where you have millions of people at your disposal. So take a chance, put yourself out there, but you have to develop your craft to the point where it’s unquestionable, right? You also have to be or get a marketing expert, package your materials to the point where it’s eye-catching because when we purchase, we purchase with our eyes first and then with our heart.
I took it upon myself reach the next level with my advertising, creation of Facebook pages, creation of Instagram accounts, packaging, my materials, getting labels made with my name on it, putting going the extra mile, that is important, going the extra mile if you want to create a living and not do it as a hobby.”
If you are new here, you can also catch up on our previous episodes before the next release.
Dr Sophia has become an astute student of many art forms, preferring abstracts & fluid arts, and considers herself a “non-traditionalist” artist who loves to explore new genres of art.
She dedicates her continual passion to creating beautiful things to the people in The Bahamas, where she was born and raised.