Art has always been a central part of Royal & Langnickel ambassador Courtney Pilgrim’s life. That passion has been expressed in different ways throughout her life, from teaching art to working as a content marketer to creating products based on her own artwork. We recently asked Courtney about how she continues to stay inspired and about her life as a working artist. See more of her work on her website, www.myfriendcourt.com
I honestly can’t recall one defining moment, but I came from a big family and being creative was not only my entertainment but my way of standing out in my family. My parents were always very supportive of my endeavors and kept me supplied with things to create with. They would proudly hang up my creations and show them off.
Paints, for sure. I work the most in acrylics but also really love inks, watercolors, and gouache. I love to make a mess when I work--I like working fast and paints seem to be the most “forgiving” to me.
Color is always my biggest inspiration, but I would also say I am very influenced by texture and traveling.
Unless I am on a tight deadline, I just go with it honestly and do my best to not make myself feel bad or get frustrated.
I taught art for five years while pursuing my own thing on the side, and it can be so physically and mentally draining trying to be a creative person 24/7. I am “trained” to do it and can work past being uninspired (just like any other job--you just get it done), but that doesn’t always mean that I will end up with something that I love or am proud of. It just means I got the job done.
Creative energies come in waves, so I do my best to embrace those moments, be it late at night or in the middle of the day. If I have an idea, I try to act on it as soon as possible. I will write/sketch out my initial idea in a sketchbook but try to bring it to life ASAP. The longer I sit on an idea, the less likely it will ever see the light of day.
After trying to sell art for awhile, I realized it would be hard for me to make a living off selling paintings and prints. I found my market and had started to book more commissions, but wanted to find another way to bring in more income. Something that would be easy and not too time consuming. I started to think that maybe more “everyday people” who admire art, but may not be willing to invest in an original (pricey) piece, would be willing to invest in a smaller everyday item that they could use again and again.
When designing a product, I just go with my gut. If I have an idea for a product, I start doing my research to figure out all the nitty gritty business details and then I go back to my audience and just ask. I will post a mock up on my blog or Instagram and see what the response is.
Making products was a risky move for me, as it was a big investment upfront, but it has totally proven worth it to me. Not everything is always a hit, but is always made up in other areas. I really just listen to my customers and take their feedback to heart.
Since I left teaching a year ago, my schedule has been all over the place. I hope to have more of a regular routine in 2017, but I kind of thrive in chaos, too. I have a part time gig as a content marketing manager (for an art journal company), where I have to go into the office three days a week. Luckily, that job is still very creative for me and my boss is completely supportive of what I do and will allow me to switch up my schedule as long as the work is getting done.
I am not a morning person, and I am most creative at night, so when working on my own stuff I usually ease into the day and then start getting into work around noon. It’s not uncommon for me to still be up painting at midnight.
It really depends on the day/project/mood as to what my day will look like, but like I said, I’m craving a little more structure in the new year. I think us creative types really need it, as much as we don’t like it.
See more of Courtney's work on Instagram @myfriendcourt and on her website, myfriendcourt.com.