We had the good fortune of connecting with Stacey Billups and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Stacey, what do you attribute your success to?
I believe that I have found success as an artist because from the beginning I created images that were meaningful to me. I was fortunate that they also resonate with so many people. Since I began to paint, my artwork has been a journey of self-acceptance as much as it is of creative expression. Being a self-taught artist has allowed me the flexibility to create without the technical boundaries that formal study might have imposed on me. I have had to learn to be okay with making mistakes and just be open to exploring different mediums and techniques. Initially, I was very much drawn to creating work that was influenced by various media and fashion but eventually I began to focus on creating work that serves as both a personal and global reflection of femininity. I strive to emphasize the beauty, sensuality and power of the women I depict.
A few years ago I made the decision to share my art journey on Instagram. From the beginning Instagram has provided a wonderful opportunity to connect with other artists and potential collectors of my work. I have definitely developed my client list robustly via Instagram and in doing so I have learned how to build my art practice into a successful business.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I am figurative painter and my subject has been primarily women of color, particularly Black women. I believe what sets my art apart from others is that I chose to focus peaceful, contemplative, and joyful poses. I spend a great deal of time creating my works and I try to engage them with the same energetic vibration that I am seeking for myself. The subjects of my artwork vary from women that I know personally, to imagined images that are some combination of various subjects and most recently references from women that I am drawn to on social media. Another aspect of my work that sets it apart from others is my use of a very vibrant color palette. I love to use brilliant shades of yellow, blues, lilacs throughout my paintings. I want you to be drawn to the beauty of the palette as much as the subject. The greatest challenge that I have faced along the way is learning how to balance my time between creating the artwork and engaging in the “business” aspect of being an artist. I’ve had to learn how to paint on a schedule that allows me to finish pieces in a timely manner, while working full-time (I’m also a school social worker) and also being a mom. I had to learn how to apply to exhibitions, set up my social media, create my website, set my prices, find a studio space., etc. But I have absolutely loved every minute of it! I believe the customers that have acquired my work can feel the passion and commitment that I have to my craft. The main thing that I want the world to know is that it is never to late for you to pursue your dreams. I only started painting about 5 years ago and I was definitely not expecting to be as successful at it but I just loved it enough to stay focused and it has been a beautiful journey.
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 would definitely like to Shoutout…my mentor. Ross Browne, he encouraged me to start painting and help guide me through the initial stages of becoming an artist. I would also like to Shoutout my husband and kids (Lawrence Billups, Lukas and Jacob Billups). They have been super supportive of me taking the time that I need to paint in my studio, attending my openings and art events and overall being supportive and encouraging .
I would also Shoutout my family members especially my sisters Honi and Jeanette for providing inspiration for my work and being my biggest promoters.
I would also like to Shoutout all of my girlfriends for inspiring my artwork and attending my art exhibitions.