why I do what I do
Hey all! Betsy here with another solo post. I thought I’d share a bit about my background and how I came to do this work I love so much: advising and supporting you fabulous creative entrepreneurs.
I've been a creative explorer, supporter and collaborator my entire life, but the career I've spun out of this passion started back in college, where I studied art history. Humankind's experimentation with expression through image making is endlessly fascinating to me and my curiosity always includes the person behind the image as much as the image itself. I can't help but want to know the individuals behind the art, each with their own unique blend of interests, challenges and capabilities.
It now seems inevitable that my interest in artists themselves would lead me to the work I do today, but it took decades of experience in so many different creative roles and a long time wondering if I'd ever settle down, professionally speaking. Each of my many jobs has been satisfying in its own way, but ultimately the itch would come to try something new. I first worked in the non-profit art world, helping artists place their works in public spaces throughout New York City’s five boroughs (If you’re old enough to remember the Spectacolor lightboard in Times Square, you might get a kick out of this: one of my responsibilities included managing this program.) I’ve run my own graphic design business, doing custom wedding invitations and birth announcements long before the internet made such businesses more viable. I’ve worked in advertising—for Macy’s, designing everything from newspaper ads to high-end invitations for la-di-dah fashion events. I worked for a start up during the first tech boom—good lord, I’ve been around a while!—I was Cardstore.com’s first creative director, which led to lots of fun work for other wonderful greeting card companies. Along the way, I learned a ton about art licensing and the first incarnation of February 13 Creative was an art licensing studio. I guess you could say I’m a creative bumblebee. I can’t stop sipping and sampling from the garden of artly delights. My most recent adventure was in book publishing, and one day soon I intend to introduce my own line of Christmas crackers!
But it was through my work as a freelance art director that I unexpectedly found a very particular spark—the one that led me to focus February 13 Creative’s business on art brand consulting. As an art director, I found my phone calls with artists frequently continued long after we’d finished working through the details of our particular project. The calls evolved into long and meaningful conversations about the dreams these artists had for their businesses and the challenges they faced making progress on their goals, or managing everything on their plates, or feeling confident about negotiations and agreements. I’d happily take extra time to share my knowledge, perspectives, ideas and encouragement with them. I was humbled and delighted to hear them say how much our conversations helped.
Within time, a few of them suggested that I might want to make it my business to have those kinds of conversations. And that idea felt thrillingly right to me. It also gave me a newfound respect for all those accumulated experiences of mine. Take any one of them away and I wouldn’t be the person I am today, able to do what I’m doing now and what I love so much: educating, encouraging, empowering and emboldening artists in their creative businesses.
I have boundless respect for you, too—the artists we get to work with. You’ve bravely followed your calling to make a business out of your art. I’m inspired by your audacity as much as I am by your creativity. Your work makes things brighter, more meaningful, more thought-provoking, more soulful—all things we all need more of, more of the time. I want to help you do your work with the highest level of knowledge and confidence because I believe in you: I believe that what you’re doing matters greatly. I also believe you’re just as well-suited to run your business as you are to create art. So I’m happy to be able say it’s my business to support you as you do both.