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Life & Work with Erin Vaughan

Today we’d like to introduce you to Erin Vaughan.

Hi Erin, thanks for sharing your story with us. To start, maybe you can tell our readers some of your backstory.
After graduating with a BFA in studio arts in 2012, I decided to start my shop + freelance illustration business. As starting a business is so time-consuming, costs a lot, and it takes a while to build it up where you are making a steady income, I lived with my parents for a long time. I was lucky enough to have them believe in me pursuing this career path. I spent years selling at markets, showing my art, networking, selling my work online, creating custom paintings, sharing on social media and then eventually selling my products wholesale to gift shops. After the combination of these things and a lot of trial and error, things finally started feeling consistent. I was able to start renting an art studio in downtown Fullerton for three years, and then my business eventually grew enough that I was able to move to my new home and live and work there.

Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way. Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
Not at all. A lot of trial and error. A lot of moments where I’ve felt like giving up. So many hours of hard work and sacrifice to get to the point where things actually feel doable and stable. I honestly still have those moments today (being in business for almost ten years now). I also have had to learn to pivot and try new ideas to keep things going. It’s hard to keep up with all the business things and still have time to do the creating.

Thanks – so what else should our readers know about your work and what you’re currently focused on?
So my work is mostly product-based and then occasional custom paintings. I paint and design my nature-themed products, have them printed in a local print shop and then I sell them in my online retail shop + Etsy shop. I also sell my work to little shops around the country. My work is heavily inspired by memory and nature. Over the years, I have really put my focus on wanting my work to reflect the memories that people make in nature and the relationship we have to land. That has transpired by painting memorable places like the National Parks because so many people have spent time there. My hope is that my illustrations help memorialize those moments of beauty in life, think about the history of the land (whose land we are on), and inspire us to better steward the land.

What do you like and dislike about the city?
I love that Fullerton feels like a small town. There is a wonderful Arts community, lots of events and overall care for your neighbor here.

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