We had the good fortune of connecting with Cat Kelley and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Cat, what can you share with us about hwo Covid-19 has affected your business?
Wow, that’s such a question for the times! Thank you for asking me to be a part of this feature. I teach mixed media art lessons and lead art events both locally and across the country. Covid-19 has changed the format of my classes but not the relationships and comradery that I have with my students. We’ve been using Zoom to conduct lessons since mid-March and it’s helped us to stay connected and continue creating together. I’m so grateful to live in a time with so much technology available to us and also to work in an industry that is adaptable to our current needs of social distancing. Teaching online has been a part of my business plan since starting Blue Moxie Art over five years ago and Covid-19 has given me the push that I needed to take that dream and make it a reality. As much as I love my in person classes and events, there are a lot of advantages to offering online classes. I like that students can take the classes at their convenience, being able to take their time, pause the lesson and work on it at their own pace. I look forward to bringing my art classes to more people than I can reach on my own. Every week my website has hits from all over the world and with online classes I’ll be able to teach globally and reach more people, that’s pretty exciting! I’ll be offering multiple types of lessons online by the end of June, some live via Zoom and some recorded. Every year adults tell me that they want to take my summer art camp and this year they’ll be able to participate along with the kids in the online version. I want my online classes to be places of community so I’ll create private Facebook pages for each one where participants can ask questions, share their work and inspire each other, just like in my live classes. Life is hard right now and I believe that creating art is even more important during times like this. I feel it’s important to help in any way that we can so I’m posting some free art lessons on my YouTube channel. I want everyone to have the opportunity to make art and hope that this helps a bit. I look forward to being able to teach in person again. I do a lot of teaching in my home and we’re currently working on a plan for how that will look when I can reopen my studio to students. For now we’re offering contact-free porch pick up for those who choose to pick up their orders from our online store and for students that need class supplies. I love what I do and believe that it makes a difference in people’s lives. I plan on providing creative lessons to as many people possible, in whatever format that needs to be, Blue Moxie Art is here to stay. I’m going to make the best of our current situation and I really, really look forward to creating with you in person again soon! You can find current class info on my website BlueMoxieArt.com. Find me on Facebook or Instagram and say HI, I’d love to hear from you!
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I’m a mixed media artist, which basically means that I get to play with whatever substances I want! I love to create beautifully textured pieces of art using paper, paint, modeling paste, anything that I can get my hands on. I created Blue Moxie Art because my passion for creating is only matched by my love of guiding others on their creative journeys. I teach art lessons to a diversified age group (my students range in age from 5-68). I also teach at a variety of local and out of state private and corporate events, including birthday parties, team building exercises, Christian conferences and family gatherings, to name a few. There are many things about starting Blue Moxie that I’m proud of but the latest is that I was recently called a trailblazer by another woman in business. I take being a trailblazer and an inspiration to heart and love to mentor women and my students in all types of creativity and business ventures. It’s a privilege and an honor to work with them to find their own path. A huge factor in getting to where I am today is that I was willing to take risks and make mistakes. Women wanting to start a venture always ask me “What if I mess up?” and my response is “Oh, you’re going to make mistakes for sure. It’ll be ok. What’s important is that you make it right to the best of your ability and learn something from it.” I completely made up my business as I went along. There wasn’t a model for me to follow so I just had to figure it out. Although that was challenging, I think it made me appreciate it more and created in me the desire to help other women. The biggest, most important lesson that I’ve learned to value myself and what I do. When I first started I was unsure of myself and would sometimes let myself be put in positions that weren’t the best for me. Now I know that what I do is important and has value. I’ve been told and shown repeatedly that I make a difference in people’s lives, that’s amazing and I treasure it. Blue Moxie Art is a small business, run by one hippy dippy art chick. I started it because I wanted to share my passion for art and I wanted to be an example to my daughter. I would rather have her see me follow my dream and fail then to never try at all. I want people to be inspired by my story and hopefully to use it to be brave and go for their own dreams. I started this business with nothing but big ideas and some really supportive friends who believed in me. My husband Ray encouraged me every day. Now, five years later, I get to do what I love every day and call it work.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
We live in such a great area with so many things to do, we couldn’t do it all! Of course we would make some art! Some of my favorite pieces were created with friends, either here in my home or across the country in theirs. It’s a great way to spend some time together and create a souvenir at the same time! We would definitely hit the beach, Balboa has been my favorite SoCal beach since high school. I love to take bikes to the beach and ride around all day. We’d probably ride to Newport pier and eat at TK Burgers, I’m a big fan of hole-in-the-wall restaurants and TK is a great one. I’d take them to LA for a day. We would go to The Broad Museum, ride Angel’s Flight, visit The Last Bookstore (one of my favorite places), the Bradbury Building and The Perch. I think Grand Central Market is a great place to eat because there’s so much to choose from. We would spend some time closer to my home in Chino. Here we’ve got The Planes of Fame Museum, beautiful hiking trails and some great food places. . We might go to Pomona, either to Downtown for the art and antique stores or to the LA Fairgrounds if it’s fair season. We like to support small businesses, especially for food, so we’d visit Bravo Burger in Chino, Samo’s and La Paloma in Pomona, and Padua Pasta Makers in Upland. These are our favorite local places and whenever we take someone there, they become big fans too. SoCal offers so many great experiences that it’d be impossible to do everything. I think that’s part of the charm of living here.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I’m blessed to have my husband Ray and a great group of friends that believed in me before I believed in myself. I wouldn’t be here today if it wasn’t for their love, support and gentle pushes!