I interviewed Alicia Noelle Jones. Alicia, aged 30, owns ANoelleJay. ANoelleJay is based in New York City, US.
Alicia, (ANoelleJay), is an independent Artist and Designer in Brooklyn NY. A few things that I need and use almost daily: acrylic paint, watercolors, and natural materials. A little underground. A little masked mad scientist. I’m told I am a little unique.
Alicia was born in Jamaica, the Caribbean island, but currently lives in New York the city. She work in the Fine Arts and in Design and her Caribbean roots show themselves in her nature inspired paintings.
Here is my interview with Alicia.
When did you start your business?
I started my business in 2014. I started out selling crafts on Etsy ANoelleJay and evolved to prints and paintings on various products on Print On Demand Websites and paintings on Etsy in a spin-off Etsy ANoelleJayART. Every few months I try to evolve and add even more products. It is a fantastic feeling.
What made you decide to set up your business?
I really wanted to share my art with the world. Art is such a release for me but also I selfishly want others to enjoy and use it. Imagining someone having a pillow fight with one of my unique designed pillows with a print of one of my paintings hanging on the wall was most of the encouragement I needed to push my business forward. I knew only I had my perspective and flare ad I wanted to grow it.
I always had the calling to do art but I made the conscious decision not to build on it. Not to dedicate the time and heart it requires. Because it does require heart and should not be done half-heartedly. I had one big adventure into art a decade ago and it was lovely. I hosted an art show to raise funds for a charity. It was a huge success but I was afraid of it. A few years ago I changed all of that. Painting is a gift. Gifts are given and never taken back even if we are not worthy, so hide it under a bushel I will not. I hope I get to share more of my work with many more people someday.
What do you do and what products do you sell?
I’ve found that creating new art is the best addiction. I would like to think the earth exists for this very reason. Because the process of creating is like a snowball. A pure white ball rolling down a mountainside. I have a forever growing list of paintings on my to-do list.
Creating feels like having magical powers. It is not magic at all though. It takes a lot of dedication and spoons full of patience. There are days when I wish I could wave my hand and brush like a wand and *whoosh* create all of my backlog of paintings and imagined items. But the actual feel of the brush on canvas would be lost. Some days I can dream though! It feels like having a race with myself which is the best kind of race but gets more challenging the faster you go.
On my Etsy, I sell original paintings, as well as some of my crafts in crochet like baby booties, and art prints. I also sell home décor, clothing for men, women and children, like leggings and sweats, electronic cases and dishware on my print on demand websites.
What products seem to be your best sellers?
My best sellers are my Colorful Red Abstract Mountain Pillow, Save The Water Watercolour Framed Art Print, Ode to Creation Heavenly and Night Rug, Water Coloring Time for Sea Leggings and Green Fern on Red Inverted Shower Curtain.
Who are your biggest competitors?
Other artists! Mostly myself.
How do you advertise your business?
Social Media is so useful. Instagram and Twitter work so well to get to new audience but a Pinterest pin can do wonders. It is tricky finding the right time to post though! I also go to a rt fairs and participate in art booths.
How would you recommend your business to potential customers?
My artwork is unique and bold! If a customer buys clothing or a home décor item they should know the design or painting is original and hand crafted!
Did you have any problems when starting your business? If so, how did you overcome them?
The biggest challenge was / is finding my market. Getting to customers looking for my products has been the hardest part.
How do you decide on your designs?
This requires imagination. Another super power move. I imagine what a great painting would look like. It has to be a little dark. A little bright. And a lot of bold. I put down a few big shapes or a few colors. The concepts are sometimes based on an image, place or colors that I have seen. Then I exaggerate it all. Sometimes I sketch it out but other times I experiment first and let the colors mix. Based on the outcome build layers and depth and the final concept. Many of my paintings have layers and layers no one will ever get a chance to see. It is a well-hidden secret but I did get caught once.
I paint in my living room. Yes, exactly. NYC. Not a lot of space. But it works really well. My paintings flow from the studio space and easel right into my apartment decor. The inspiration bounces… rebounds… and I can easily see my progression and unfinished ideas. However, paintings have overflown into my day job office space and I am starting to consider charging an admission fee and putting up a red rope.
The art world is a vastness that reminds me of the universe. Beautiful, immense and a bit scary. The potential for any and everything is there. That is the exciting part about being an artist. Artists have the power to trigger in others the innate desire for the unknown and for beauty. It’s a big responsibility that can be underrated.
What has been your favourite piece to work on?
I paint a lot of nature and think about THE CREATION and THE BIG BANG. What it would have been like to see it. The entire planet is a canvas with beauty and images that most of us will never see. I do think that everything already exists on this huge unexplored planet that we live on, so the task I have as an artist is to throw in a splash of imagination and energy and try to create something NEW. I surround myself with a lot of energy and nature and it really fuels my curiosity.
Sometimes I think of places I wish I could see. Other times I abstract into artwork I wish I could create and bring life to. I can’t create life but I can do my best to imagine it through my own eyes. I think the gift I have been given was for that purpose. And hopefully for others to enjoy.
I have been working on a very long series focused on abstract roses and it has been my favourite series by far! My newest painting though is my biggest challenge and it scares me. It is an underwater seascape that will have an environmental message!
Are there any offers on your products running at the moment?
Right now no offers but when a customer requests to purchase 2 or more paintings I usually provide a bonus!
What has the experience of owning a business been like for you?
Do what you love. You can’t always do ONLY what you love, but you should make time to do a little of what you love everyday. Maybe luck will be on your side and you can do more and more of it over time. Maybe you won’t be so lucky, but if you never try you won’t find out. We only get to do this once, as far as we know anyway.
Where do you see your business in the future? What dreams do you have for your business?
I see my artwork on bigger walls with many more eyes on it. I see my artwork in home being enjoyed and treasured by others. The sky is the limit if I keep the creativity flowing! Everyone should go after their dream.
Below you can find ANoelleJay’s store and social media links:
Etsy Store: www.etsy.com/Shop/ANoelleJay
Etsy Store: www.etsy.com/Shop/ANoelleJayART
Thank you for answering my questions, Alicia. It has been a pleasure interviewing and getting to know you. I wish you well in your business venture.