We had the good fortune of connecting with Nems and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Nems, putting aside the decision to work for yourself, what other decisions were critical to your success?
When I first started therapy we were several months into the pandemic and things were feeling…hopeless. During my first sessions I kept it pretty surface level, finding comfort in having someone in my corner that could validate my day to day struggles. Throughout the process of getting to know my therapist I told her I was trying to be an artist, which she quickly started correcting me to saying “I am an artist.”
At this point I’d been selling my work consistently for a few months and was beginning to develop my layered resin painting technique. I knew that a website was essential for any successful business. I claimed my lack of tech savviness was the reason for my procrastination, but there was a bigger road block that I couldn’t see at the time. I was scared to tell the world I was an artist.
Because when you grow up being taught that artists are starving and that there’s no jobs for you- it’s really scary to go out there and tell the world that you’re trying to do it. Excuse me, ARE doing it, and you’re doing it by yourself. And you don’t necessarily know what you’re doing.
Thanks to this break through and amazing tech support employees, I built my website: Artbynems.com. I launched it in September of 2020 and was amazed by the support of friends, family, and strangers. I was greeted with encouragement and admiration from people I feared would squash my dreams with their doubt. I started selling paintings while I was relaxing away from my phone. I’ve met strangers that already knew some of my story. I have a portfolio that’s ready to be viewed by anyone, anytime, whenever an opportunity arises.
Overcoming this obstacle was the first of many breakthroughs I’ve had since starting therapy. It has held me accountable in ways that no self help book ever has. I’ve learned how to treat myself with kindness and respect, how to communicate with people, the importance of setting boundaries, feeling my feelings, and so so sooooo much more. It has affected every area of my life and has been the biggest catalyst to my success.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
My name is Nems, I am a Denver based artist most known for my layered resin paintings. I am inspired by nature and love recreating it with paint, some of my favorite subjects are landscapes, succulents, geodes, and clouds. By pouring resin between layers of paint, I’m able to create depth and shadows in my work that I think sets me apart from other artists.
Seeing my work improve with the completion of each piece is when I am the most proud of myself, I always want to keep evolving in my life and I think that is reflected in my art. Becoming a professional artist has not been an easy or linear path for me. I’ve worked in many fields including national service, retail, nonprofit, service industry- I was even a janitor at one point. Actually now that I think of it, several points. In retrospect I’m grateful to have had worked such a variety of jobs because I discovered what elements of a job work best for me. Through these different experiences I learned that I like to work with my hands. Moving my body while I’m at my job keeps me motivated. Marketing is actually interesting and an extremely useful skill. Traveling is a huge source of inspiration. I love helping people and improving their lives in some way.
Being my own boss though has been a big challenge for me. I literally have to give myself pats on the back on a regular basis just to feel accomplished for the day. Time management has never been my strong point but I’ve learned how to set a routine that works best for me. Usually that means working in 2 hour intervals, setting deadlines a day early, and hiding my phone under the couch cushions until I get something done. I’m not always super disciplined but in the end everything gets done. As a small business owner you have to remember to be nice to yourself and intentionally give yourself a break or you will burnout fast.
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.
After living in Denver for 5 years, I have a found some really great hidden gems. Bertha’s Baja Bistro is truly a diamond in the rough, the food is incredible and I have never been disappointed by anything I’ve ordered from there. City Park is my favorite place to walk my dog, there is a great view of the Denver skyline when you stand in front of the Nature & Science Museum. And if you’re into drinking and crafting, Upstairs Circus is where you want to be! I used to work there and it was the most fun I’ve ever had at a job.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I’d like to shoutout Jen Sincero for writing the book that changed my life, “You are a Badass.”
This book introduced me to a new way of thinking about my life and what i truly wanted out of it. It has taken years of doing things that scare me to get me where I am today and I plan on continuing to do that for years to come.