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Meet Long beach Freelance Artist: Ariel Wilson

Today we’d like to introduce you to Ariel Wilson.

Ariel, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I grew up in southern California and spent most of my childhood creating art, writing stories, and exploring. As a young adult, I moved around a bit between La county and San Diego county, traveled abroad little, and eventually landed at UCSD, where I got my bachelor’s in Studio Art. When I graduated I didn’t apply to any jobs, and instead gave myself a year to try and work freelance. I figured if at the end of a year it wasn’t working I would reevaluate and make a new plan. Somehow, it worked, and I’ve been working as a full-time freelance artist for the last 5 or 6 years. I feel really lucky, and I love that every day I get to work on something that feels new and different.

Has it been a smooth road?
While working freelance has been wonderful, there are a few challenges. There is a constant ebb and flow to the amount of work I have, and by extension, the amount of money coming in. Financially I have to approach things differently now than I did when I had a steady paycheck so that I have a 3-month safety net. Another struggle of mine has been working from home while maintaining a sense of schedule and structure. I tend to obsess on whatever I’m working on and its easy for me to fall into a habit of working all night and into the early morning. I’m trying to work on setting times where I’m really “off the clock” and can come up for air.

What are some of the influences that have played the biggest role in your journey so far?
6 years ago I did a small mural at a group home in Murrieta called Oak Grove Center. While working on the mural I got to engage with the kids who live there and saw their interest in art. At their age, I was really lucky in that I got to go to art camp every summer, and had parents that encouraged and fostered all of my creative interests. I think it’s important for kids to have that and I wanted to be a part of helping them find what I found in art. After that mural I took on several different murals on campus, room makeovers, library design, gym design etc, all while running art groups on campus with the kids. I am inspired by them on a personal level, and on a professional level I think some of my best work has come from working with them, and for them.

What type of clients or projects do you look forward to most?
I like working with small/medium businesses that have big ideas but don’t yet know what their voice or vision is. It creates a situation where we can work closely together, and get to the crux of what they want to say with their brand, who they want to reach, and how best we can get there.

What do you know now that you wish you knew when you were just starting out?
That’s a great question and something I haven’t really thought about before. I think when I first started working professionally as an artist there were a few opportunities that I turned down because I felt intimidated, or like I didn’t have the “right” experience. In retrospect, I think I would have been fine and should have been braver.

Contact Info:

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