We had the good fortune of connecting with Christelyn Nash and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Christelyn, how has your perspective on work-life balance evolved over time?
Starting out as an entrepreneur and an artist, work life balance seemed like an imaginary fairy tale to me. However, over time I realized that just like any other skill, it takes years of practice. In the beginning, I would work an 8 hour day job, come home and immediately dive into my business and art with little to no separation between the two. Fast forward to now, I have learned to plan my “art days” in advance. I still work an 8 hour day job, but now I have pre-scheduled days off to focus on my business, my art, and myself. This creates a time for work, a time for play, and time to rest. I like to think of this balance as a sort of spiritual practice because I see it as my duty to society to work, my commitment to my craft to create, and my responsibility to my body to relax.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
My art bridges the world of reality that our bodies live in and the world of fantasy that our minds inhabit. In order to bring such intangible ideas to life, I like to combine traditional art mediums with technology. For example, transforming my photography into a virtual reality landscape. The main element in my work that sets me apart from others is the source of my raw imagination, me. Staying true to myself and my vision has played a big part in carrying me into the professional that I am today. I have always had an entrepreneurial spirit since childhood, so turning my vision into an enterprise came naturally. It was definitely not easy. Supporting yourself monetarily as an artist is one thing, but supporting yourself emotionally can be a whole other obstacle. I overcame these challenges by asking for help. Never be afraid to ask for help whether it be financially, mentally, or physically, reach out for help. The most important lesson that I have learned is that I can not succeed alone. I want the world to know that my brand is all inclusive and provides a platform for anyone with a positive creative vision to express themselves. All you need to know about my story is that I was a little black girl with a really big dream and now I’m a big black woman with a small business that is thriving.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Oh sis, I got you. On Monday we go to Papi’s Nightclub to see my favorite drag queen Luna of The Lilies perform a number or two.
On Tuesday we do brunch at Brasil Cafe on Montrose for a very specific slice of Tarragon Honey Pizza and maybe a mimosa.
On Wednesday we do some yoga at Buffallo Bayou.
On Thursday we visit the museum district because free admission at the MFAH, duh. Plus we can visit Station Museum before heading over to Axelrad for some late night live music and more pizza at Luigi’s. (I like pizza)
On Friday we are definitely going thrift shopping so we visit our friends at Baby Arcade, Pavement, Leopard Lounge and The Cottage Shop.
And on Saturday we take a stroll through Hardy and Nance Studios for some creative inspiration and networking.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I would like to dedicate my shoutout to Mary Howe Hawkins. Mary has been my mentor since my senior year of college. The stars aligned to bring us together during an internship that I was doing in the Spring of 2017. Mary has been creating awe-inspiring photographs and works of art for over 25 years! She invited me into her studio to learn her process, document her work, and discuss the rapidly growing network of legacy artists in Houston, Texas. She deserves all of the praise for teaching me skills in etiquette, networking, and pursuing my dreams as a fine artist.
Image credit: Tiffany Couture at the Vybe Studio