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Meet Riley Waite

Today we’d like to introduce you to Riley Waite.

Riley, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
I was born in Oceanside and grew up there until I was seven when my parents divorced, after which my mother moved us to Ireland where she is originally from. It was difficult for me to adjust to the different culture, especially being an introvert. However, living there has had a huge impact on my life.

It wasn’t until I turned 18 that I made the decision to move back to California. I moved with nothing but a passport and a place to sleep at my grandparents. From there, I got a job at a grocery store and started taking classes at the local community college. Soon after, I started my own business by illustrating people’s portraits. I’m currently in my last few weeks of my degree in Fine Arts at Cal State Long Beach.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc. – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
I would say my journey has been relatively smooth. There have been some Speed bumps, but I feel like everyone goes through struggles, it is just how you approach them that defines them.

Moving from California to Ireland at a young and influential age was pretty hard on my life. It took a while to adjust, and I still struggle with my cultural identity, but I feel like things could always be worse. I have also had some pretty substantial money problems, which is something to be expected in the art field.

I never went into the arts expecting to make a lot of money, I always just wanted to just make a simple living from my art, which is something I’m still striving for.

Please tell us more about your work.
I am a freelance fine artist and illustrator that specializes in drawing and painting custom portraits. I focus on portraits because the human face is a particular interest to me. I find that we, as humans, look at the human face and it awakens something primal in us. A human face captures our attention and holds it more than anything else. It is for this reason and my love of detail and realism that continues to motivate me to create portraits.

Has luck played a meaningful role in your life and business?
I’m incredibly lucky that I’ve been gifted the ability to create the art that I do. I feel that I’ve always had a knack for drawing, and although it’s not all about talent, that it mostly takes hard work, dedication and practice, I still think that talent plays a big role, so I’m lucky in that sense. I’m also lucky that my family has been supportive of me and my pursuit of art because it’s not something many people would generally approve of,

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