Today we’d like to introduce you to Rhea Rose.
Hi Rhea, we’d love for you to start by introducing yourself
I have always loved creating art since I was a little girl writing and illustrating stories for school and drawing pictures of musicians for my peers. I always thought and acted differently as well. I assumed I was just peculiar. For 9th and 10th grade I was able to attend a performing arts high school as we were a military family and moved often. This was the first time I felt like I belonged somewhere. Then we moved again and I remained focused on my pursuit in the medical field as I had always envisioned. By the time I graduated high school I had a full scholarship to study veterinary medicine at Tuskegee University. At the same time, I discovered that I was pregnant with a beautiful baby girl. I wanted nothing more than to be a stay at home mom just like my mom was and spend every minute with her. And that I did. After about a year of full time motherhood I started dabbling in fashion design, then found myself right back at art again. Friends started paying me to draw portraits for them. I realized that art was my talent and my passion and it was something I could pursue while spending most of my time at home raising a family. Over the next 20 years, my family grew and changed and I learned skills in mural painting, face painting, graphic design, illustration and art instructing.
Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
It has not been a smooth road, however, it has been a consistent one. My biggest struggle in my career has been with my self-confidence. In the beginning, I had a very low self-esteem and I didn’t put a lot of value on my talent. That made it difficult to have a real sense of accomplishment and fulfillment in what I was doing. I also experienced a divorce, single parenthood and remarriage during my career and I made the decision to continue to pursue my dream in spite of my circumstance. My development of confidence and character pushed me to heights I had only imagined.
Appreciate you sharing that. What else should we know about what you do?
Most of my art carries a theme of strong, resilient women. I love to recreate the female figure in beautiful ways that encourage people and united them under common experiences. I also like to fuse realism with abstraction. I use a lot of contrast and strong colors to convey emotion. Art for me is a bridge to relate and connect with people in ways that are difficult for me otherwise.
Can you talk to us about how you think about risk?
I believe being an artist and owning my own business is a large risk for me. My mother was a homemaker and my father had a full-time career in the military. Growing up, I don’t remember being exposed to anyone working for themselves, plus I was too shy to consider it. I just remember really admiring people in the entertainment industry. Also, after my unfortunate divorce from my first husband, I moved my kids and myself to Austin from a smaller and less expensive city. That was definitely a risk most people wouldn’t consider right away. I also held on to my art business, which was not very lucrative at the time. It really began to thrive when I made this decision and had no other option other than plan A to support my new family of 3.
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