Laura D Zajac
Fine Art and Live Painter
What is your professional background?
I have been drawing and painting forever. I studied painting at Penn State. Since then, I have been working in other fields while building up my art business on the side.
What sparked your interest in the arts?
Drawing has always come naturally to me, since I was little. Ongoing experiences are what inspires me, such as studying abroad in Rome, which got me hooked on Renaissance art. After that, buying a home and wanting modern pieces jump started my new abstract way of painting.
What do you like most about being a freelance artist?
Knowing that people are enjoying my art in their homes or businesses. With the event paintings, I see the joy it brings to my clients and nothing beats that.
How do you, “get in the zone” with your works?
It’s tough sometimes, but I have to just start. Once I begin, everything flows. Also, listening to inspiring podcasts, audiobooks, or music helps.
What is the most common mistake you have seen others make when it comes to artistry?
Some artists put too much effort into creating work with “shock” value. It doesn’t always have to be shocking or grotesque to be good. The best work comes when you are creating what you love and not thinking about who is going to like it. Do your best and favorite type of work, and the audience will appear.
What else have you found to be useful for your art?
Getting outside in nature, or just getting out at all. Paying attention to textures and colors in everyday surroundings.
How are you leveraging social media to promote your art?
Social media is such a great tool, but I am not the greatest at it. I really would rather be painting or experiencing life than having my head in the phone! I am currently on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter at LDZdesign.
What books/blogs/news sites would you recommend for improving one’s skills?
When you are stuck and don’t know what next step to take, I would recommend “Choose Yourself” by James Altucher. For financial matters, definitely Rich Dad Poor Dad or anything by Robert Kiyosaki. For spiritual/life matters, my go-to is Wayne Dyer or Alan Watts. I also like “How to Fail at Everything and Still Win Big” by Scott Adams (creator of Dilbert) for practical, physical steps you can take to improve your work ethic and your habits.
What advice would you give to someone looking to become an artist?
In terms of the actual artwork and creative process, I would say that the only way you can figure out your style and the type of work you are supposed to be doing is to get up and start doing it. You may have months or years of so-so work before you create something you love that you want to make more of. It takes time to figure out your style and your message, but you just have to start.
Financially, there are many artists who are able to support themselves with their art, so don’t let anyone tell you differently. Check out Natasha Wescoat, a very successful artist who coaches other artists. There are so many who have found ways to prosper by thinking outside the box. For example, painting at events or licensing your work to larger companies for royalties.