We had the good fortune of connecting with Michelle Perl and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Michelle, what role has risk played in your life or career?
From an early age, I learned that taking risks could lead to fulfilling rewards. My parents were entrepreneurs in the restaurant industry, and they taught me that there is no such thing as risk. If you set your mind to something, you can succeed even if it is not in the way you originally envisioned.

As I grew older, I learned this on my own and realized that there is no “failure” with taking risks, just a new set of options to choose from. I have moved cross country more than once, and not all of them were “successful.” However, when I met an obstacle or found I was traveling down a path I didn’t like, I just chose a different direction to see if that was the path toward my own success, and sometimes that path was going back the way I came.

In 2019, after getting married and having a child, my husband and I were entertaining the thought of moving back to the mountains of Colorado. However, we knew mountain life was expensive, and we had secure jobs and our family in New Hampshire. We decided that we wanted to pursue a life worth living over the comfort of the financial security we had. Many would think that deciding to move everything cross-country, away from family, with a 2-year-old is a great risk, especially factoring in that I didn’t have a job set up when we made the decision. However, my husband and I are hardworking, flexible, and determined. We are of the mindset that things will work out – not because that is the way of the world, but because we are stubborn and we will make things work regardless of the circumstance. I successfully acquired a job 2 days before we flew out west, and work that same job today. My daughter will have the opportunity to grow up in the mountains in a way that other families can only dream of, and we are deeply satisfied with our decision.

This story is easy because it is a “success story.” I feel very lucky that things worked out the way that they have. However, I think it’s important to highlight that along the way we encountered roadblocks and obstacles. Each time we faced a situation that was not tenable, we made a choice and moved on with that decision. During the pandemic, my husband was furloughed, and I wasn’t sure my position was secure with my employer. I had free time and I decided to start pursuing art as a way to make ends meet, and now here I am.

Ultimately, the road is long and full of forks, shortcuts, and crossroads. What has felt many times over as failure, was really the catalyst to my next adventure. Nothing feels like a risk anymore, just an opportunity.

Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
In 2020, at the very start of the Pandemic, I was given two paid weeks off from work while the country and my employer were trying to figure out how to navigate a drastically changing landscape. During this time, I decided I would pursue a career in art in an effort to make ends meet. I was worried that I wouldn’t be gainfully employed, so I spent that time painting, spending time with my family, and feverishly studying what was needed to start an art business. After submitting many forms, meetings with the bank, and a stroke of genius from my husband with a business name; Ends Meet Art was born.

Since I was young, my dad has always tried to convince me of my artistic talent. One that I set aside for many years because I didn’t think my art was good enough or worth pursuing. When I started painting again as a hobby, he was the first to compliment my work, and when I painted “Twilight” and was considering selling it, he declared that he must buy it and that he would purchase it at nothing less than full price. Only a few weeks after his declaration, and before he could send a check, he passed away unexpectedly of a heart attack. This was devastating. Though I still paint for me, I now paint a lot for him. I imagine his disapproving voice when I think my art isn’t good enough. Even though he is no longer a phone call away, I still celebrate my successes with him. Twilight is now hung on the wall alongside his photo as a gift that was never quite given, and a reminder to keep doing what I love.

I still don’t feel like I’ve “made it” just yet. I think I am still very much in the middle of my journey. However, I am growing. I struggle with feeling like I’m not a “real artist” and I don’t believe my artwork is something people would or could enjoy. That is slowly changing. Each day I find small things to appreciate in my own paintings, and as more people encourage me to keep going. I am learning that I might be a terrible art critic.

Finding time and motivation to paint has always been a big challenge. I work a full-time job that I love and have no desire to leave, as well as wanting to be present and engaged with my daughter. Carving out time is not easy. Each day, I feel like I dedicate more and more to this passion of mine in the places I would have scrolled through social media or watched TV. It has been an incredibly exhausting but equally rewarding experience.

In the end, my story is simple. I enjoy painting and I want people to FEEL something when they look at my paintings. I take inspiration from the landscape around me and bring them to life with bold and vibrant colors. My hope is to one day walk into the house of someone I just met and see that they are a proud owner of one of my pieces.

Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
What an interesting exercise! Living in the Rockies makes this easy for me. I assume this friend of mine is visiting in the summer because we all know “you come for the winters, but stay for the summers.” Naturally, I will be picking them up at the airport and bringing them to the mountains. Instead of taking I70 into Silverthorne (where I live), we will take Loveland pass to appreciate the wide sweeping vistas from the top, and really hit them with a show-stopper of a mountain view. We’re going to take it easy on their first day to get acclimated to the altitude. We will spend the afternoon hanging outside chatting about life and catching up. Throughout the week we will visit the top of Keystone Resort to see some live music, drive over Swan mountain stopping at Sapphire point along the way for some photo opportunities, and visit Isaac Heartstone before walking Main Street in Breckenridge and hitting my favorite local art shops like Ohana and Limber Grove.. We’ll be sure to hit some favorite hikes on Ptarmigan Mountain, Chihuahua Gulch, and Lenawee and at some point rafting the Blue with friends. We will spend the afternoons visiting Outer Range, Highside, and Angry James to enjoy the local beer samplings. Dinner will be a mix of restaurants including Timberline, Windy City Pizza, with the must-have empanadas from Argentos occurring at least twice during the trip. We’ll top off the week with a “family dinner” where we gather our chosen family together for a potluck-style meal and festivities. The trip back to the airport will be full of reminiscing about the week and making plans for the next time they visit.

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
My Dad – Who always supported me and pushed me to pursue art

professionally My Sisters – Who remain my sounding board and continue to cheer me on from half a country away

My Mom – Who talks me through frustrations on an almost daily basis
My Friends – Who tell me my art is worth buying and don’t gripe when I make them pay full price

Website: www.endsmeetart.com

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/endsmeetart/

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutColorado is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here