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Meet Lesley Grainger

Today we’d like to introduce you to Lesley Grainger.

Lesley, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
My passion for art began at an early age, I was always in my room creating, imagining and making things. At the age of five, I told my dad I wanted to be an artist when I grow up. In school, my favorite subject was art, and I always excelled in the creative classes. I left high school, and I started on the path to be a self-taught graphic designer. I did that for a few years but it never gave me the creative freedom I was looking for, so I enrolled in college at the age of 23.

I studied art in Hull, England, starting with an ‘Art Foundation,’ following with a ‘BA (Hons) in Illustration.’ Once I finished University, I worked as a freelancer for a few years, and then in 2006, I started my art licensing business. I licensed my illustrations on a variety of products, such as fabrics, greeting cards, children’s art, and children’s books. I really enjoyed illustrating, but I kept going back to painting abstracts in my free time. I realized that painting was my true passion and I thought about how much I would rather paint full-time than continue with illustration.

This was when my business and my life took a huge turn. I reached out to companies about licensing my abstract art, and they were interested. I was so happy to be painting, and my business started to develop more in that area. I was illustrating less and painting more. In 2014, I began posting my art on Instagram and had a great response, six months later I launched my first online shop. At the time, I never knew if it would work or not, but I knew I had to try.

Along the way, I’m happy I listened to my inner creative voice and took the steps that have led me to where I am now. I’m truly grateful for all the things I have learned that brought me to being a professional painter. Being a graphic designer, in the beginning, has helped me with my own marketing. Learning the art licensing business taught me so much about business and my own creativity, what I wanted to do and what I didn’t want to do.

Sometimes we don’t know what we want until we do a few things we don’t want, it’s a process! Since transitioning into painting full-time, I feel greater freedom with my creativity, and it has opened up more creative opportunities. I truly appreciate being able to share my passion for painting with people who love art like I do.

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?
I’ve had my challenges along the way, too many to name them all. But one there is one that stands out and worth sharing. Self-doubt is a huge obstacle for a lot of artists, for so many reasons and on different levels.

But I always tell people that you can make a living being an artist, everything we look at in this world was created by someone. There is a vision, an idea behind everything. Artists are such an important part of our community and culture.

So the biggest obstacle for me was overcoming the doubt and listening to my creative voice so that I can then share it with the world. Yes, you will have struggles along the way, but the answers will come as you go along your path.

We’d love to hear more about what you do.
I don’t have a brand or spend a lot of time thinking about a tagline. I love to paint, and I want people to enjoy the beauty of original art. I sell my original paintings online, in galleries, shops and at shows.

Do you look back particularly fondly on any memories from childhood?
I have so many good memories, I had a huge family in England, and on the weekends I would spend a lot of time with my cousins, just playing outside. We had a few vacations together, one that I remember the most was going to Spain at the age of six. Long fun days on the beach. We are still close, even though I live in California.

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