We had the good fortune of connecting with Kacie Margis and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Kacie, how does your business help the community?
The social impact of my work is what brings me the most fulfillment. When I began livestreaming my art process, it started as a hobby. It wasn’t until people began reaching out to me asking where they could purchase my pieces that I realized I had talent. I’ve found that when I create art in the darkest moments, it seems to have the greatest impact. After surviving the Las Vegas Mass Shooting in October 2017, I decided to use my work to advocate for gun control. My calligraphy pieces were shared by thousands and shortly after, I’d be doing an interview with Buzzfeed and talking to Bernie Sanders at a town hall about living with PTSD and the need for reform. As a victim of sexual assault, I’ve turned to art to help me out of the deepest pits of despair. Many of my pieces reflect the trauma, pain, strength, and resilience that myself and other survivors possess.
For years, I was primarily doing ink drawings and calligraphy until I was in a horrific car accident in February of 2020. The accident left me wheelchair-bound for several months as I suffered multiple injuries to my right foot and left wrist. I was unable to create my normal style of art, but I didn’t let that stop me. I decided to teach myself how to do digital artwork using my right hand and a stylus. Soon, I was selling multiple commissions per day—creating cartoons and abstract digital pieces. I began churning out Quarantine cartoons to help people get a laugh during the lockdowns. I created pieces for the Black Lives Matter movement and election season. Once I taught myself how to walk again, I received numerous messages from people saying that watching me adapt and thrive inspired them to pursue their goals. This is when I realized that my story is my power and that as long as I’m creating, I’m making an impact.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
My life has led me down several different career paths. For many years, I was in the marketing industry and worked as a market manager. I then founded my own marketing company and sold it in the spring of 2019. I still do some consulting, but have since decided to dive into my artwork and modeling career. As far as my art goes, my technique is unique. I do all of my non-digital artwork while on the floor of my apartment. I’ve never liked working at a table, and art easels just don’t do it for me. I also draw using a quill and acrylic dipping ink—metallic inks are my favorite to work with! I enjoy mixing mediums and have a strong desire to try new things.
Modeling for me began as an outlet to gain confidence and express my creativity in front of the camera. When I started doing it professionally, I learned the importance of knowing exactly who you are. The industry will try to change you and morph you into whatever they want you to be. I’ve been told I need to lose 20 pounds, change my hair, and that I shouldn’t be outspoken about social issues because “clients don’t like that.”
One of the most vital lessons I’ve learned along the way is the importance of integrity and reliability. When there are 1,000 individuals applying for the same job, the client is more likely to go with someone they already know will show up and give their all. Most of my clients—for both artwork and modeling—are return customers or referrals from people who previously worked with me. If you are genuine and kind, people will not forget you. The connections you made five years ago might reach out tomorrow asking to book you for something; reputation is everything.
The biggest challenge for me as a creative is dealing with people who don’t value my work and expect me to do it for free. I’ve experienced this with both art and modeling. “Exposure,” is a word people use to try to get artists to work for free. I’ve had people agree on a rate and then never pay me after having me work hours on end for them. For whatever reason, some people feel very comfortable taking advantage of us creatives and it is disheartening.
I want the world to know that I am worthy. For so long, I undervalued myself and let the opinions of others stifle me. I allowed others to walk all over me while I dealt with the aftermath of multiple traumas and the pain of living with several chronic illnesses. The worst of humanity preys on people in my circumstance. The best of humanity encourages people like me to keep going. I am eternally thankful for the latter.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
My favorite things to do while in LA are watching my friends perform comedy or live music (now that things are open again, I can’t wait to do more of that!), grabbing a vegan bite at Plant Food and Wine or Crossroads Kitchen, and supporting local artists and street vendors.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I’d like to first acknowledge my family for their endless love and support, as well as my dear friends and loyal supporters on Instagram who gave me that encouragement to begin selling my artwork. I’d also like to thank the clients and photographers who book me for photoshoots and constantly help to improve my craft. One friend in particular, Hannah Kaye, deserves her name to be shouted from the rooftops for the amount of compassion, guidance, and love she has generously given me. Hannah first reached out to me after she watched my interview with Buzzfeed, sharing my survival story from the Vegas Shooting. She had recently survived the Poway Synagogue Shooting, where her beautiful mother, Lori, was the only fatality. We have an undeniable kinship with each other. Over the last year and a half, Hannah has been my encourager and confidant. She has helped me scrape together bits of hope when I felt numb and lifeless. I’d like to dedicate this to my angel, Hannah Kaye. I love you so much.
@Photocrapht @J.Coreimages @Late.risers @Shotbyhughes @Constantinephotos21