Limitless Potential When Painting Limitless Universes: An Interview With Superstar Artist Connie Rose
British Artist Connie Rose is known for her Surrealist Paintings, and photorealistic portraits, she works mainly in oils, and a large theme running through her work is the subconscious and the limitless nature of the uncharted universe.
What is your entrepreneur story? How did you come about building your business as an artist?
When I was in my late teens, the first oil painting I ever did was chosen for an oil painting award exhibition at the Mall Galleries in Central London. After graduating from Chelsea Art School I got my first portrait commission and started to make a good income from my realist oil portraits, so I declared myself as self-employed and I’ve been growing as a self-employed artist ever since. I was on Sky Arts Portrait Artist of the Year, a TV show in the UK, and that was certainly a highlight of my career- like, wow I’m actually being recognized now. My current surrealist style emerged when I started visiting New York, and it massively developed while I lived there for 4 years. I’d done several murals around the world, including London, Cuba, El Salvador, and NYC, but the biggest one I’ve done to date is the 90ft Yeshiva University Library mural which is a swing wall that opens like a book with painted pages at the end, and it climbs up a twisting staircase where the huge surreal ‘book’ blends into a parallel universe.
Being in the New York art scene, going to the shows and making close friends with some of what I would call the next big names in art, sharing ideas and influences have been a gift I’m forever grateful for. I’m currently in London as I’m curating an exhibition in Soho London, but I mostly spend my time between both London and NYC.
Contra Galleries in Chelsea, NYC have been really great to me and have a collection of my work on display right now, they even bought some for their personal collection, I’m also having a solo show with them in the fall, and I’ve been on their podcast a few times ‘Your Art Weekly’, hosted by art dealer Matt McGlynn and fellow artist Justin Aversano, I’m on the new episode out this week.
Being featured in Forbes as one of New York’s top artists got me quite a bit of work, and also painting hip hop artist Dot Demo’s album cover which recently went platinum.
Apart from other artists, what influences the way you paint and work?
I try to be pretty disciplined with my work schedule but traveling and time differences can sometimes take its toll. I don’t drink or smoke which keeps me creative and focused. I don’t wait for inspiration to create, I start and then the inspiration comes, each piece I do informs the next. I have a few coaches who keep me on track, and I myself am also a life coach, as psychology fascinates me and influences what I paint and it’s super rewarding helping people so directly. I coach a few artists, and help people with habit change and reaching their goals. I go to business courses every couple of months, I’m always the only artist there which amuses me, art is a business, without selling I can’t follow my passion and creativity, so it just makes sense to me to want to know that side of it too. I’m actually considering doing a short course at Sotheby’s as the art market interests me as I have a very humble art collection of my closest artist friends, that I fully intend on building.
For the past 6 years, I’ve been meditating daily for at least 30 mins in the morning and sometimes nearly an hour in the evening and whenever I’m in an uber or on the train. I’ve also done several 10-day silent meditations where I’ve gone super deep, quite honestly they have been life-changing, and I’m doing another one in Italy next month. Meditation is a huge part of what I paint, as I visually come up with ideas that way, and the daily practice of meditation is how I keep focused on what I want to create, along with working out, dance, and perhaps unusually, massage, as I have a type of synesthesia where I see vivid shapes and colors when I’m being massaged but this only came on since I have been meditating, so I think my actual brain structure has changed because of it, and it’s likely linked to being in a meditative trance-like state when massaged but it definitely is more pronounced and the colors and shapes change along with the type of touch. Breathwork also induces strong visuals and emotions for me, which again influences my paintings.
What have you learned through your experiences as an entrepreneur that can be used by aspiring business individuals? What makes your business so unique and successful?
I’m passionately and relentlessly determined, and I’m constantly innovating, that way, it doesn’t matter if someone tries to copy me.
There are probably going to be times when it gets so tough that you want to quit, or ‘get a real job’ but it’s only those that push through all that doubt and keep putting one’s self out there, contacting people, going to events, creating more, and thinking outside the box, who really actually ‘make it’.
In the past I’ve had few people say, ‘should you really be doing that, why don’t you get a part-time job’, but honestly the thought of that just seemed like giving up, and a month later I would sell enough work that a part-time job would take to make in 6 months… because I wasn’t wasting time working on somebody else’s dream.
It’s also super important to surround yourself with positive people, and if possible a mix of lesser and more successful people than you… being the most successful person in the room is no fun, you will likely not push yourself harder or grow much that way.
What have you learned through your journey as an entrepreneur?
To take full responsibility for my success, that way I am in control of my destiny and if it’s my fault I did or didn’t achieve something, then I have the choice to change it for the better, no excuses allowed, that’s too easy, but really too damn hard.
Never knock anyone else’s journey, the more successful you become the more you’ll notice the people that criticize you are rarely -if ever- more successful than you… funny that… so just ignore them, you ain’t made it till you got a few haters anyway.
Also sometimes people can look at someone really successful and feel jealous but you have to ask yourself, well, did you actually put in all the same effort as they did? No, really, did you? Most likely the answer is no, and that’s when you have to up your game, don’t waste time complaining, start trainin’.
And through the hard times, remember, the only way out is hard work, dreams don’t just happen, you make them happen. Mindset is everything, which is why being a life coach feeds so directly into the way I work as an artist.
What skills and attributes make you as successful as you are?
I’m a risk taker, in the past, I’ve gone into debt to invest in an exhibition, and people have thought I was mad… but it paid off, and really if I’m not going to believe enough in myself to bet on myself, why should anyone else?
I also make fast decisions based on instinct, as one of my coaches JT Foxx says ‘what’s the best case scenario, what’s the worst case scenario, what’s the most likely scenario, 54321 decide!’. Wait too long on an opportunity and you’ll be the person saying ‘I almost, I nearly…’, no thank you, I’d rather say I tried that and it didn’t work than I never even plucked up the courage.
Why is online business, marketing, etc important?
Marketing is essential so people know about you…whether that is from exhibitions, in-person meetings, or through an online presence.
When is your next exhibition?
I’m in a group exhibition ‘4 Elements’ at Van Der Plas Gallery on the LES of Manhattan July 22nd-28th, PV July 24th.