We had the good fortune of connecting with Stephanie Irey and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Stephanie, do you have any habits that you feel contribute to your effectiveness?
I am a list maker and goal setter. When I want to accomplish something, I decide what it is exactly that I want and I set goals to achieve it. I break everything down into smaller goals/steps and I’m able to see a path forward. I’ve had big goals in my life and for the most part have achieved them, usually one step at a time. Each morning, I write my to do list on a 3×3 card and I get a lot of satisfaction checking things off as I finish them. It might seem a little boring, but it is one of the most important things that I have done consistently my entire life.

Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I have an unconventional artist story. At the age of 5, while in kindergarten, a not so kind teacher put a big, fat F on one of my drawings. It was then hung with all the other kids’ works for everyone to see. I remember it clearly, it was a defining moment in my young life. That day, I stopped drawing, stopped coloring, stopped exploring artistically. A little (maybe big) piece of me died.

I did very well in school, went to law school and became a lawyer. Never thought about Art. However, I was always taking up hobbies…photography, scrap booking, knitting to name just a few. I always brushed off anyone who said my photos were good, it was just the camera…not me! Looking back from where I am today, I realize this artist was trying to break out my entire life. I kept her hidden, didn’t listen, ignored her!

In the summer of 2020, amidst the pandemic, I had a strange urge to paint. I had seen some abstract art on Instagram and I thought, I think I want to try doing this. I bought paint and brushes and paper and went to town. I knew NOTHING about color, composition or even how to actually paint with a paint brush. But, something strong was trying to get out of me through paint. I just opened myself up to it, listened and started painting. I have been painting every day since then.

I’m not sure what my paintings are trying to say. I don’t have a message that I’m trying to convey. I heard that if one stops drawing and doing art at a young age, if they start again, their artistic sensibility starts back at that age. I feel like there is a five year old screaming to express herself. I LOVE to scribble, move paint with my hands, let the paint explode off my brush. It’s so visceral and physical for me. My wonderful husband agreed to me turning our living room into my studio, which lets me paint whenever the muse calls. However, I can’t be as completely crazy with the paint flinging as I’d like (so I do often take my paintings outside when I need to really let loose).

My work is ever evolving. I work a lot with mixed media and build amazing layers on my paintings and then use various methods to reveal what’s hiding underneath (I’ve even become acquainted with power tools!) A year after I started painting, I decided to start sharing my work on Instagram. I was shocked at the wonderful reception my work received with people reaching out to inquire about buying my pieces, pieces getting accepted into gallery shows and I’m even in discussions with a local gallery.

My journey as an artist (while it feels short) really has been happening my whole life, I just didn’t realize it. I hope that people who read my story take away from it that it’s never too late to start a new journey and for those who are young, maybe question some of your inner beliefs earlier in life. Who knows where I might be now, if I had questioned my long held belief that I did not have an artistic bone in my body!

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?
My best friend and I would hit the museums, art galleries and gardens for the week! Huntington Gardens (the gardens, the museum and lunch at the Tea House). We’d definitely check out The BAG in Sierra Madre (Baldwin Avenue Art Gallery). Coffee and pastries at Patticakes in Altadena. Gelato at Bulgarini Gelato Vino Cucina in Altadena. Drinks and dinner at Foothill Restaurant in Pasadena.

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
While it might be a cliche, my Shoutout is to my amazing husband of 34 years. James and I met when we were babies (well almost babies…19 and 20). Somehow we knew we were meant to spend our lives together. When you meet someone when you are still so young, there is the risk of growing apart as you grow older. We’ve been so lucky, we’ve had many journeys together, ups and downs, changes in careers and all the things that life tends to throw at you. Through it all, James has supported and encouraged all my crazy ideas. He is not a fan of abstract art…however, he loves most of my work and he encourages me to paint everyday. Having a life partner who is really in it with you is the most amazing way to live life!

Website: www.stephireyart.com

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/stephireyart/

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