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Meet SJ Spreng

Today we’d like to introduce you to SJ Spreng.

SJ, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
I got my first camera at Costco for Christmas when I was 11. That seems like an appropriate beginning to the story but beyond that, there is nothing linear about it.

Throughout my life, I have planned to pursue so many different career paths and nothing really stuck. I always thought that art was a hobby; it felt like the thing that brings me the most joy couldn’t possibly be my livelihood. It was only about nine months ago when I had this epiphany that that way of thinking is f*cking wild! During about the middle of my senior year, I remember thinking to myself, “I would be absolutely crazy if I did not use these resources and support systems I have to pursue the thing that I love more than anything. I have to try, if not for me, then at least for all of the way more talented people out there who don’t have the ability to take that risk.” So, from then on I have just committed myself to creating and experimenting non-stop with the people and things I have around me. I am so grateful to have an amazing network of friends and friends of friends that keep me busy and really keep me growing.

I see now that I don’t just get to pursue my passions, I must pursue my passions because I can. My greatest dream is to use my influence, gifts, resources, network, etc. to eventually enable others to pursue what they love. It shouldn’t be a risk to do what brings you joy, especially if that thing is art. I really want to change that for as many people as I can. As of today, I’m at the very, very humble beginnings of all of it. I am days away from quitting my restaurant job (at the wonderful Lepe’s Taqueria in Sonoma County 💛) to work full-time on my freelance business. So, long story short, I think I might still be in the forward to my whole story. Check back in another nine months.

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?
All things considered, it has been a fairly smooth road, especially because I’m so young and this is all so very new to me. My greatest struggles regarding my career have really surrounded taking myself and my passions seriously. As a little kid, I always said that I wanted to be an artist when I grew up, but somewhere along the line I learned that that was just something little kids dreamed of. Instead, I became attached to the idea of being a super impressive, intelligent, and maybe even intimidating girl boss (I know that is a counter-intuitive description). I thought that in order to be that, I had to work in the corporate world and master the art of professionalism. It took me a really long time to realize that intelligence and strategy-mindedness actually can and should live in the same place as emotions and art. That’s what I am: a smart, emotional, creative business person. And that’s what all the people I look up to in this industry are, too. I think we need to tell that multi-faceted story more often.

Alright – so let’s talk business. What else should we know about you and your career so far?
I am a photography-centric visual artist. I specialize in portraiture and making my clients feel loved because I really do love them. I’d say I’m known for my style that is very ethereal and colorful.

What makes me unique and what I’m certainly most proud of is the connection I have to the people I work with, which is a two-way street, so shouts out and hugs to all of them! I enter everything I do with zero judgment and I vow to never be “too cool” for anyone or anything. The people I choose to work with are the same way, and the result is beautiful friendship and really beautiful artwork.

Is there a characteristic or quality that you feel is essential to success?
Humility and kindness.

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SJ Spreng

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