We had the good fortune of connecting with Hillary Lauer and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Hillary, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
Last year, when Covid hit, I was working full time as a marketing manager at Ink Monstr, a graphic design and printing company. During a time of such uncertainty, fear and isolation-art was my outlet. I was quarantined indefinitely and then working remotely, giving me more time to focus on my art. It was nice to hop off of a work call and paint when inspiration hit As I posted more of my art process on social media, I started to get a lot of a requests for custom paintings. Around May, I found myself so busy with art commissions that I decided to leave my job and focus on painting full-time. By Christmas I was slammed, sending out multiple paintings a month and i’ve been hustling ever since. I always knew that painting was my calling, but it didn’t seem possible with a 9-5 office job. With help from my dad and our weekly phone calls discussing business plans, I was able to launch my art business- Hillustrated, LLC. My dad helped me figure out a business plan with a structured budget, how to price my paintings appropriately and most importantly, he taught me how valuable my time is. Im still figuring it all out, but having my dad’s help really pushed me in the right direction.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I have always loved to create in my messy and colorful style. During art classes in high school, I practiced perfect shading and flat painting but I always went back to my wild lines and hectic color pairings. When I stopped trying to achieve perfection and started having fun, I came into my own style. As an artist, my goal is to communicate emotion and energy through colors and brush strokes. While I paint, I listen to music-mostly John Mayer or hip hop. My brush strokes tend to move to the beat, as a few people have pointed out on my Instagram live. As a professional artist, I am most excited about the amazing collaborations coming up with artists I really admire. I can’t say who-but I am over the moon. Professionally, I have gotten where I am with the advice from successful artist mentors (shout out Detour and Lamour Supreme!) and of course my dad who is such a smart business man. He taught me how to adjust, adapt and deal with harsh realities of being a small business owner. It wasn’t easy to become an artist and entrepreneur and I don’t think it ever will be. At any level, artists will always deal with similar struggles- and that comes with the territory of being able to do what we love. I’ve learned to overcome challenges of criticism and rejection by developing thicker skin and ultimately getting better at my craft. There are always going to be times of doubt but I am learning to use that as motivation. My brand is about expression, empowerment and embracing imperfections.
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?
Hey Bestie! So stoked you’re coming to El Lay. I’d say my favorite way to start the day is hitting up Alfred on Melrose for a nice cold brew. I bring my computer there to work on the patio, but tend to get distracted by people watching and french bulldogs wearing Supreme hoodies. From there you should check out Ewkuks gallery/paint shop- they’ve featured some of my favorite artists like The Obanoth, Junkyard LA and Daniel Toledo. They also carry a nice selection of loop spray paint and some dope apparel! One of my favorite hangouts is the pool at The Line hotel in K-town, a nice place to kick off your Yeezy slides and grab a drink in one of the poolside cabanas. You have to carve out a day to hit up the West Side and stroll the Venice Canals and board walk. For a nice dinner in Venice-Gjelina is pretty great. I love their Grilled Salmon entree and the pizza is delish. Before you leave it is crucial to hit up Bay Cities deli and get the Godmother sandwich (spicy with the works). Make sure you fight for your place in line.
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’d like to dedicate this shoutout to my supportive family who I could not have gotten this far without and my boyfriend Darin who continues to inspire me as an artist and a person.