We had the good fortune of connecting with CoCo Zentner and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi CoCo, can you share a quote or affirmation with us?
When I was little, my dad would start each morning off by saying, “Carpe diem,” which is a Latin phrase meaning seize the day. It’s such a simple expression yet holds such significant meaning. Carpe diem has now become a common phrase between me & my husband – and each time I hear and say it, I’m motivated to embrace every day and painting as if it were my last. 

Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
2020 has been a difficult year to combat for us all, so finding the silver lining was crucial for me and my creativity. One of my proudest moments this year was selling my work to multiple international collectors (which was an exciting first in my career). One thing that I’m overly excited about (and that I’ve kept hush about until this interview) is that I’ve spent almost all of 2020 designing my dream art studio, and we are hopefully breaking ground during the spring of 2021. I’ve studied art for over two decades, and I’ve worked extremely hard to get to where I am. I studied art at The University of Texas at Austin, and after a freak-out moment during my last year, I decided to go the safe route & work in the tech industry for several years. I don’t regret a second of my time working in the corporate world, however. It taught me how to negotiate, to handle client relationships, and to never stop networking. I knew that pursuing a career in art would eventually happen, so I saved my money, built and coded my website, and created a strong business model all on the side. I have a very supportive husband and family that pushed me to quit my job and pursue art, and I haven’t looked back since!

Was it easy? If not, how did you overcome the challenges? What are the lessons you’ve learned along the way?
I think as an artist, it’s pertinent to stay true to yourself. With social media & the accessibility to see other’s work at a click of a button, it can be challenging to find your unique style. For me, playing the comparison game & juggling work/life balance have been obstacles to overcome, but I’ve learned that boundaries play an essential role in my business and have helped me stay in my lane. I believe that I was called to create art and to provide joy to people within their homes and dwellings.

Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Oh gosh, where do I even start? Thankfully the weather in Austin is pretty temperate, so the activities are limitless. Between the music scene and hiking trails, there is so much to see and do. I’d start with Veracruz tacos for breakfast, hands down my favorite breakfast tacos in Austin. Afterward, we’d grab Juiceland and walk the Lady Bird Lake trail, and end at Zilker park for a picnic. By that point, I think it would be time to go by a brewery like Lazarus or ABGB for a drink. To cap off the day, I love going to the top of Mount Bonnell (maybe with a Home Slice pizza in hand) and then ending at Donn’s Depot for some Texas Two-Stepping and live music. We love spending time outdoors and biking to places in Austin. Going through The University of Texas at Austin campus is always fun, and stopping by one of my favorite museums, The Blanton Museum, would be a fun pit stop to add to the mix.

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I wouldn’t be where I am today without my parents’ and husband’s support, as well as all of the educators and mentors that have helped me in the past. However, so much of what I know and appreciate about art I owe to Cynthia Day Neely, my most influential instructor since I was in middle school. I spent many, many hours observing her techniques and listening to her guidance, and she inspired me to shoot for the moon & become an artist. She passed away due to cancer before I went to college, but I know she would be so proud to see me pursuing my passion and dream.

Website: www.cocozentner.com
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/cocozentner_art/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CocoZentnerArt/
Other: Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/cocozentner_art/

Image Credits
Kayla Snell

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