How long have you been interested in art? How did your love for it begin?
As cliché as it sounds, ever since I can remember! As a child I was pretty imaginative and was always in art supplies or outside. I remember enjoying to write and illustrate short stories, especially ones with animals. I had a handful of art teachers over the years that helped cultivate my skill which I am incredibly grateful for. I sold my first painting in 5th grade for $25 dollars which was pretty memorable.
Tell me about your decision to turn your passion into a career.
I took drawing and painting pretty seriously from elementary school all the way through college. I wasn’t heavily involved in many extra curricular activities or sports growing up and I found art to be the one thing I was good at - my happy place. It was always there to ground my emotions and gave me a sense of peace, confidence and purpose.
I attended Georgetown College and received a B.A. in Studio Art and went on to juggle a few miscellaneous jobs (I worked in retail, graphic design, assisted a wedding florist, and even worked the front desk at a hot yoga studio) until I took the leap and pursued art as my full time career in March of 2016 and Mal Meiz Creative was born. After getting married in the fall of 2017 to my husband Scout, I said a bittersweet goodbye and rebranded to Mallory McCamy Art. It still feels surreal that I get to do this as my full-time job!
What types of custom artwork pieces do you offer to clients?
I offer originals, commissions and prints. I’m probably most known for my commissioned watercolor illustrations of my customer’s beloved pets and weddings. However, this year I am making more time and working towards releasing a collection or two of original paintings of my favorite subject to paint: landscapes.
I also sell prints and goods. I have set up my booth at different markets over the years and also have a small online shop on my website where you can find fine art reproduction prints, stationery cards, stickers and journals of my work. My go-to mediums to work with are a combination of watercolor and ink pen on paper, as well as acrylic paint on canvas.
Tell me about one of your favorite pieces you've created so far
Oh man this is a hard one. I'd have to say my very favorite painting is titled Expanse. I still own and couldn’t bear ever selling because it serves as a personal testimony for me. I created it about 4 years ago and during that time I had done some deep reflection in the book of Genesis. Here are my words circa 2016 after sharing it with the world:
“I have faced a year full of insecurities, anxiety, doubt in my talent, confusion, exhaustion and heartbreak. But in that drift, I found healing & growth in Living water. I found true that in order to be a source of life, we must stay connected to THE source of life. My vulnerability cultivated my confidence. In taking risks, I was overwhelmed by opportunities that came my way. My inspiration was nourished by the people I surrounded myself with. I began to see how I could love on others by serving them through what I created for them. During that season, I was reminded of a time when the world was formless & void. Without structure or life. When the spirit of God hovered over the waters. He moved toward the chaos and breathed life. He built forms to fill them, so living things could succeed and flourish. He created a home where we could live & enjoy his love.
This painting serves as a reminder for me to continue challenge myself to carve out time in my week to create freely. To give myself grace. To find joy in making something out of nothing. For it is necessary, holy & life giving to others. I hope my painting resonates with your heart like it has with mine.”
My close second favorite is a more recent painting from Spring of 2018 titled Understanding reference Independence Pass, Colorado 22x30” acrylic on paper. You can view it here and read more about my heart behind it.
Where do you draw inspiration from?
You will more than likely find that my artwork is inspired by my birthplace, the Rocky Mountains of Colorado, as well as many of my travels. Some of my favorite musings are landscapes, full of mountains and trees, or the wilderness and all of its creatures. Which is why my heart skips a beat when I get outside whether it be a walk around my neighborhood with our dog Sadie or hiking a 14er.
But at the root of it, I am truly moved by the emotions creation evokes in me and the relationship I have with God when I am in it. I recently re-listened to one of my favorite podcasts titled “The Song of Creation” by Tim Keller. When I paint, I find myself longing to join the same song with with my Creator and His creation.
Keller makes the statement, “Why is nature so moving? Because all of creation is in a constant song of singing the praises of its maker and it is calling you in.” God created the mountains, the sea, the trees, rivers, oceans and animals perfectly. It was all made Good in his eyes and continues to live out just what it was made to do. But because of sin, we couldn’t sing the same song so we needed Jesus to mend the gap. Our maker was un-made so we could be re-made and join in to complete the circle.
As a business owner, how do you strive to share Jesus and/or run your business as a follower of Jesus?
I think the best way I share Jesus in my business is subtle and found more in the behind the scenes. I do my very best to serve and love my customers through my process and the way I run my business from email inquiries to delivery of a finished product. I am currently in the middle of a business rebuild (Shanna Skidmore’s Blueprint Model, a 12 master course for creative entrepreneurs) and wow, it has been just what I needed.
Since January of 2019, I have been prioritizing my mornings for “me time” to give myself the space to sit and read +write. A very lifegiving activity for me. I am in constant prayer that my values and character as an artist would be less about me and more about God, thus the work I create is always a reflection Him. *sighs* How freeing! Along with taking care of myself spiritually, I also value taking care of myself physically so I have been pressing into living a more slow and simple life. One of my favorite practices outside of my art is yoga. It always leaves me feeling refreshed and recharged. It is a safe space for me to slow down, breath, meditate, practice mindfulness, sweat and relieve stress.
What have you learned about yourself and/or God through this business so far?
Being a creative small business owner has affirmed me in my strengths, but more often reveals my weaknesses and where I fall short. It is hard to juggle all the hats that come with being your own boss. To be honest, I struggled with ugliness of comparison more than ever in 2018 and found that it is far too easy for me to slip into finding my full identity as an artist instead of a daughter of Christ.
At the end of any hard day, I do my best to seek Him so I am reminded that God is GOOD and his plans for me are GOOD. I found a lot of rest in these verses over the past year speaking to my Spiritual life: Ephesians 3:14-21 and Romans 8:9-10.
Another eye-opening experience I have had is discovering my Enneagram, a personality type model. I’m a 9 (shoutout to all my peacemakers out there!) It has affirmed me in many ways and has also helped me better understand myself (both my healthy and unhealthy tendencies), which has made navigating my marriage, relationships and career as an artist go smoother.
What advice do you have for anyone wanting to begin a business?
I feel like I could ramble off 10, but here are my top 3:
1. Don’t be afraid to directly reach out to someone you admire or would love to learn from. Finding a mentor and taking the time on the front end to lay a solid foundation for your business is so important for the long run. It is something I wish I would have done at the start instead of flying by the seat of my pants haha. But, alas, here I am. God even brought my story full circle and blessed me with my first every mentee this past year.
2. Be mindful and aware of the time you spend on social media. Establish boundaries. It may feel like it is everything but it is not. It is just a tool and it is best to be treated like one. Stay true to yourself and who you are as a creative in Christ and the rest will flow!
3. It is okay to hit pause and not feel guilty about it. I experienced my first extreme burnout after my 2018 holiday season and took almost a month break from painting or drawing anything. It can be difficult to pull yourself out of a creative rut. I have found that one of the best remedies when experiencing burnout is to allow yourself the guilt free space to get outside and to be conversations with your community (your people who know you best) to encourage and lift you up.
Bonus: keep beauty in your workspace or studio. My something beautiful is houseplants...and I am for sure a crazy plant lady. I think collectively my husband Scout and I have almost 20 plants in our home. We both enjoy keeping living and green things in the house and I love sharing that with Him. It is a healthy reminder of the beauty in this world that God so desperately wants us to tend to and enjoy!