We had the good fortune of connecting with Stephanie Zeleznik and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Stephanie, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
For years I’ve been told by friends and family, “you should start your own business doing this!” Or, “you should do art for a living!” I would politely dismiss those comments with thoughts along the lines of, “that will never work out! Or at least, not for me.” The internal critic that plagues all artists had also affected me at this point. It wasn’t until December of 2020, under a self-quarantine, I was stuck at home with my thoughts and a paintbrush for two weeks straight. Within these weeks I knew I wanted to do a few paintings for my family and friends. Through posting updates about these paintings on my social media I had received more interest than ever before. This led to my first non-family commissions. I was beyond thrilled, the internal critic went out the window and I was ready to actually start a business. With my background of marketing and web design I was able to quickly make a website where I could finally sell my watercolor artwork and turn this into a real business.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
Hi I’m Stephanie Zeleznik, of Zeleznik Paints. First and foremost, I am a watercolor artist. I specialize in landscape scenery and florals, but I also love painting vases, teacups, and animals. There has never been a time in my life where I wasn’t painting or doing something artistic. I would like all of my art, especially my commissions to actually mean something to someone. Wether it’s a fond memory of theirs, a cherished item, or just something that makes them feel happy inside, I want it to mean something. Recently I started converting my original paintings into prints, cards, and stickers. The first challenge I encountered with my business was deciding who to use for printing my products. If I would do everything on my own or if I would send everything out. These trials and errors have allowed me to obtain the highest quality and integrity for my products, as well as have a lot of little extras that didn’t make the cut that I give away inside my packages.
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.
When having friends visit from out of town I always like to cater to what their interests are. I have many go-to’s for every personality type, but then again I would be content with doing any of these things any time. For the Adventurer; In Spring, Summer, or Fall I would take them on a hike around Laguna Beach or the Bolsa Chica Wetlands in HB and grab an Acai bowl and coffee from AoSA Coffee or MoonGoat coffee. If it was winter I would take them up to the mountains to ski/snowboard or snow tube. During Christmas the lights are up in the villages and its great to walk around and shop after grabbing dinner before you’re too sore to move. For the City-dweller; I would take the train into Union Station and Utilize the Metro line going into either Pershing Square or Little Tokyo. You can spend the whole day in either location just eating, walking, and people watching. Grand Central Market and The Last Bookstore are right off the Purple Line and the best sushi, ramen, and atmosphere in the city are off the Gold Line. For the Classy one; I would bring them to Perch to have the best outdoor atmospheric experience ever, eating and overlooking the city on a rooftop. Ending the day with walking around Rodeo Drive with a Sprinkles Cupcake in hand while window-shopping. For the Old at Heart; I would take them to San Juan Capistrano by the train station to be nostalgic, have afternoon tea at The Tea House on Los Rios and look into all the little shops, especially the antique stores. I learned to paint as a child at an art studio on Los Rios Street, this may be one of my favorite options due to the nostalgia. Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I have received abundant love and support from my family, church family, friends, Pastors and mentors. The people who have encouraged my art the most would have to be both sets of Grandparents. My Slovakia born Paternal-Grandparents love the arts. My Maternal-Grandfather was an artist himself and my Maternal-Grandmother loved me so much, that she would rejoice over even the worst art I could ever produce. It was this encouragement that led me to bring along a watercolor travel journal with me on most of my adventures. This caused me to slow down, take in the scenery, and see places in the eyes of an artist. My all time favorite paintings are inside my 5.5 x 3.5 inch travel journal because they remind me of the wonderful time I got to spend with my Paternal-Grandparents on most of these journeys. Now that both of my Maternal-Grandparents are gone, I cherish their life and encouragement more dearly than ever.