We had the good fortune of connecting with Nancy Eckels and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Nancy, is there something you can share with us that those outside of the industry might not be aware of?
While spending the day in your studio making art may sound like an easy life, much more is necessary in making your business successful. When you work for yourself as an artist, you are in charge of everything….quality control, marketing, ordering supplies, and building your online and gallery presence to name a few. While you may spend the majority of your day producing art, your other time involves all of these other tasks and the time spent on those tasks is substantial. In addition, while I have given up travel to art shows around the country, many artists still do them. I can’t tell you how many times one of those artists has had someone say to them that it must be nice to have a job where you get to spend the weekend sitting outside in the park. Those people don’t see the constant travel, the heavy physical labor of setting up and tearing down your display, the living in hotels and all of this on the weekend when everyone else gets to have a couple of days off. And after the show is over, they arrive back at their studio on Monday and begin another week that involves all the tasks I mentioned above.
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.
I left another career rather suddenly and decided to do something where I could be my own boss. I had dabbled at art most of my life since my parents were both amateur artists and they encouraged art for both me and my sister. I decided that I would try to make a business out of it. I was not a spring chicken and tried to figure out the fastest way for me to get my work in front of clients so that I could get on a faster track. So I started doing art fairs and festivals around the country. I traveled and did the shows for 20 years, and while it was fun, and I met many wonderful people, it was also very hard work which I couldn’t see myself doing forever. In the past couple of years, I have looked for galleries, both brick-and-mortar, and online, to sell my paintings and have had success in both. My work has evolved over the years and I currently do abstract paintings with a heavy dose of texture. I think they are unique, because I rarely come across anything that looks like them. Each creation comes together in a slightly different way, Some take a lot longer than others, but my overall mantra is to just keep putting paint on them until I like them.
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.
This is a very difficult question during the time of Covid, but let’s assume it’s going away soon. I love places near the ocean like Laguna Beach or Santa Monica, especially taking people who are not used to being around the coasts Entertainment is also a great choice….the Greek Theatre or the Pantages. L.A. is a great place to find a wonderful meal. I have spent many an evening in Musso and Franks eating great food and soaking up the history.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
When I began the professional artist portion of my life, I was lucky to have a sister, Karen Scharer, who had already made her transition into full time artist several years before.. I got to ask her a lot of questions and get advice from her which helped me avoid a lot of costly mistakes. In addition, I was not all that familiar with the tech side of marketing, websites, social media, etc. My friend and fellow artist, Belinda Del Pesco, pulled me kicking and screaming into the world of tech and she showed me how it could help me market my paintings. She has also been wonderfully supportive. Finally, my husband, Don, who helped me with support in many ways, was very important in my success, He helped me by doing everything from sometimes going to shows to help and carrying a larger burden with our financial responsibilities as I was building my business..