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Meet Erin Witters of The Salty Life

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.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Matt Hume

Getting in touch: VoyageLA is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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