Today we’d like to introduce you to Erin Witters.
Erin, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
Art hasn’t just been a part of my life, it has given me life.
My childhood was unhappy and messy. It was filled with a constant feeling of not being good enough. I discovered my love of art at a very young age, and it gave me the escape I desperately needed. At eight years old my dream was to one day become an artist. However, I did not believe it was actually possible.
I spent my young life using art as a way to cope with my troubled home life. I took extra art classes so I could avoid going home. I would skip important classes and sneak into the art classes. I threw pottery, I painted, I drew, and I found solace in my art. It gave me a voice when I didn’t think I had one. I wanted to stay inside my art bubble, but that was not an option. My dream felt more and more unattainable.
My two best friends when I was younger were sisters, and their parents chose to take me in. The people I call Mom and Dad have shown me unwavering love and support. I went from a lonely child to this woman surrounded by a support system which has allowed me to flourish. I met my husband, and we started to build our family. I felt fulfilled because I was creating, just not in the traditional way that I was used to. I was creating this happy, loving family and life.
Between my husband and my chosen family, they gave me the push I needed to try and follow my dream. I finally went for it in the Spring of 2016. I quit working, stayed home with my girls and I opened a small business that sold hand made wood signs. For a couple of years, I told people I was living my dream, but honestly, I never felt like an artist. I felt like a fraud. I did not go “all in” on my dream. I made signs because they were easy and safe. I wasn’t actually putting myself out there and showing anyone what I was fully capable of.
I was too scared to share myself and my art. My inner critic was downright mean and getting louder. I started to believe that I was not good enough. My business started suffering. I was making things that were epic failures, and my sales were dropping. I felt like giving up. Becoming an artist was a pipe dream. Just as I was about to shut down my business, I decided I would paint for myself. I pushed myself to paint, and it was not easy.
I struggled through the entire process, but the end result was pure magic. I felt whole. I felt like an artist. I started listening less to my brain and more to my heart. It’s been about nine months since I made the change to fully embrace my art. I no longer make anything that doesn’t serve my soul. I finally feel like I am living my dream as an artist. My own art gives me life now.
Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
My biggest obstacle has been myself. Having experienced a childhood with such negativity, instilled a dramatically negative inner voice. I never believed in myself. I did not feel I was good enough or that my art was good enough.
This lack of confidence prevented me from pursuing my dream for almost my whole life. There were opportunities that I missed out on because I couldn’t get out of my own head. I allowed myself to hold me back from my full potential.
I have gotten a lot better, but I still struggle today. I second guess myself and let my inner critic get the best of me. I combat that negativity with love, laughter, and the ocean. I have eliminated toxic people from my life. I do not waste time on things that do not serve me. I laugh every day, and I stand in the ocean as much as I possibly can. I will probably always struggle with my confidence as an artist, but I will never give up.
The Salty Life Co. – what should we know? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
I am an artist. I create art and design products that are inspired by the ocean and a laid-back beach lifestyle. Everything I do is hand done. I draw my art designs on paper before digitizing them into art prints and stickers. People know me for my hand painted mandalas. I don’t use any stencils, tools or grid lines of any kind. They are completely free handed. I have begun making videos of my paintings to show people my ability to create mandalas without tools.
When I paint, I let the brush lead the way, and the intricate designs just flow out of me. It feels natural, and it’s what sets me apart from others. I am unable to replicate the details and designs others make because they have tools. I have developed my own style to accommodate my free hand abilities.
As a company, I am most proud of the fact that I have been able to create a brand around my life. It makes it a lot easier to promote a carefree beach lifestyle when you live it every day. I put out products that I use in my day to day life, I create art inspired by the natural beauty I see every day and promote a slow-paced lifestyle while living one in real life.
What moment in your career do you look back most fondly on?
I have had a series of moments that all pertain to my Stay Salty Wave design and they are what I am most proud of. It started when I filed for copyright. I was so proud of my design that I felt I needed to protect more than any other design I had created. After that, it was seeing my design on products like hats and sweatshirts that people were wearing in public. My art goes into people’s homes, and sometimes I never see it again. Walking out of a grocery store and seeing a stranger wearing my design or showcasing my stickers on their water bottles is completely surreal.
I fulfilled my life long dream of becoming an artist. I am able to teach my daughters that you can be and do anything you want as long as you keep fighting for it. Every year I have a goal that no matter what I do, I am happy. I believe I am successful because I am doing what makes my soul happy. Which in turns gives me the opportunity to spread love and light. I am grateful people purchase my designs and love the brand that I am creating. I could not be more proud of myself.
- Website: www.TheSaltyLifeCo.com
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: @thesaltylifeco
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/thesaltylifeco/