For our latest installment of Women in Business, We recently caught up with artist and teacher, Hayden Ireland and got to ask ask her a few questions about her business and a few other things she's up to.
1. How did you get started in illustration?
I’ve been drawing my whole life, but I really started diving into my illustrations a few years ago when we were living in NYC. I was struggling to feel at home in a huge city and my illustrations helped me feel connected to people. Also, strangely enough I had a lot of free time so I drew and painted and made handmade cards for hours and hours. Anything and everything I could get my hands on to feel creative. I also worked at a small rubber stamp store in the West Village and that place was a huge inspiration for me. Then we moved back to RVA and I haven’t stopped making since. I love it. I use my art to say the things I wish I was hearing more often. To shine a light on the GOOD STUFF this world and this life have to offer. I want my art to feel like a great big hug. I want people to feel inspired, empowered, and hopeful. And I want them to smile. Life can be hard sometimes, but illustrations can remind you to keep going and to keep loving.
2. How do you find time to practice your craft?
It’s true what they say, you really do have to MAKE time to work on your art. I’m a person who loves to do a lot of different things so I’ve always had multiple jobs simultaneously and finding time to draw can sometimes be a challenge. I try to work it in whenever I can. If I’m watching TV - I’m drawing. If I have 30 minutes before I have to start getting ready for work - I’m drawing. If I have a project I have to finish before a specific deadline - I’m drawing late into the night, sleeping for a few hours and getting up early to draw some more. You do what you have to do because you LOVE to do it. Not once have I been mad because I had to spend an extended amount of time on a piece or project. That’s the kind of work I live for! It makes me happier than anything else. So, the time presents itself to you when you look hard enough for it. I’ve also started working at creative and wonderful places. I teach and make art for SPARC’s LIVE ART program and I’m an artist mentor at MILK RIVER ARTS. Having designated times where I get to play, teach, get messy,
and try new things is really a dream come true for me.
3. What's a piece of advice you've been given that's had a positive effect on how you approach your business?
I’m still learning A LOT about how to be an artist professionally. It’s hard because it’s so personal. The thing I have struggled with the most is pricing, but my Mom, my husband, and my whole family have always encouraged me and pushed me to charge what my art and my time is really worth. To take myself seriously as an artist and charge accordingly. I’ve gotten better at it, but I am still figuring it out. It’s great to have a team that supports you and believes in your work. Every artist needs hardcore fans. And on that note, every artist needs to be a hardcore fan of themselves, too. Believe in what you have to say and how you chose to say it. Someone out there needs to see your art. So make it and put it out there. You’ll
figure out everything else along the way.
Oh, wow - YES! Going to Lewis Ginter to see the lights, shopping for Christmas presents in Carytown, going to see The Nutcracker ballet, going to see It’s A Wonderful Life and White Christmas at The Byrd, driving through The Fan and The Museum District to see the houses all decorated, going to The Jefferson to see the beautiful Christmas tree, seeing the downtown buildings all lit up, and dressing up all Christmassy to shop at the Bizarre Bazaar. Oh, and wearing my tacky Christmas sweater collection while I do all of these things! I love RVA year round, but I gotta say - I especially love it at Christmastime!
You can find more of Hayden's work here - haydenireland.etsy.com
All Photography by Caroline Simmons - mcarolinesimmons.com