One Year Later – Soul Graffiti Art Studio

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I still have a hard time believing I own and operate an art studio. Soul Graffiti opened for business and creative ventures October 1, 2013.

The past 12 months have been a time of rapid growth for me. As an artist, as a business owner, as a believer, and as a dreamer.

I’ve cried, laughed, and yelled. I’ve experienced the amazing community of local artists who have supported me and loved me. I’ve been doubted, questioned, and looked down upon. I’ve been supported, loved, and encouraged.

People I barely knew one year ago have supported Soul Graffiti in ways I could have never predicted. People I’ve known for decades don’t even know Soul Graffiti exists…is this even possible with social media?!?!

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I’ve washed more paintbrushes than I care to think about. I’ve learned to appreciate mason jars in a whole new way. Acrylic paint may be permanently embedded beneath my fingernails.

Michael, Jerry, and Mr. AC Moore know me by name and my checking account number.

I’ve painted my rear end off. I taught more than 60 classes. I’ve partnered with other amazing artists. My work has received criticism and made divisive waves. Received accolades and gotten raves.

I’ve shipped paintings to towns I’ve never visited. The Soul Graffiti Art Studio FB page has almost {we’re so stinkin’ close!} 500 LIKES. I’ve been commissioned to create gifts for birthdays, weddings, and new babies.

All this and I’m still in disbelief…walking on water. The waves are always beating against my feet, but my eyes have to stay on Jesus, the architect of my faith.

Faith, the evidence of things hoped for, but not seen. Soul Graffiti Art Studio was a massive leap of faith. I had no idea what was even possible. I started paying rent on a 400 square foot space and didn’t have the first class scheduled. I even thought it was a little bit cray cray myself.

My husband and my kids believed in me. From inception. From the moment I met a complete stranger turned soul sister Andrea Noles and she spoke life into my soul…”Lizzie, you need a place to land”.

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Her aptly spoken words fanned a spark in me that ignited my inner artist and turned into a flame. Now that flame burns with fervor and energy that’s palpable. Before last summer, I never even knew owning an art studio was a possibility.

But…I’ve seen some of what’s possible in the past year, and I believe we have only begun to scratch the surface of what’s possible when people have a place to create soulful masterpieces. A place to express and put on a canvas the graffiti that is written on their very souls.

Even with all I’ve mentioned, you know what makes me cry and smile at the same time? Artists who’ve landed at Soul Graffiti. Precious souls to me. People who took a risk. Dear souls who chose to show up. To play with paint. To share little pieces of themselves on a stretched canvas.

They took a huge risk and showed up. That’s what life is all about. That’s all I did when I opened the doors to Soul Graffiti one year ago.

So, one year later, how do I measure success? It’s not my checking account. Or the number of canvases I’ve painted. Or the accolades. All of those things are incomparable to the smiles, and aha’s, and tears, and “wow, I did that!” comments that I get to hear every week.

That’s how I measure success. One soul at a time. One artist who takes a risk and shows up at Soul Graffiti. That’s all God asked of me one year ago and that’s all I ask of the artists who take a risk at Soul Graffiti. And of myself. Success is showing up.

Hope you show up at Soul Graffiti Art Studio very soon!

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Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders
Let me walk upon the waters
Wherever You would call me
Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander
And my faith will be made stronger
In the presence of my Savior.

 

 

 

When You Believe In Yourself



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It all started with a conversation with his teacher in January.

“He only uses his black crayon. I asked him if he wanted to use the other crayons and he told me no and he was done.”

After hearing this astute observation from his teacher, I knew something was up. I also knew that I would be having a little conversation with him as we snuggled together after family prayers.

“Buddy, what makes you only want to use your black crayon at preschool?” I asked. Lying on my side next to his warm little body, I could tell he was not too happy about the topic of snuggle conversation. Nothing like the conversations we normally have regarding legos, superheros, and why marshmallows taste so good.

“What did my teacher tell you?” he inquired.

“Well she told me that you only use your black crayon.” I answered as he physically turned on his side away from me so I couldn’t see his face.

The warmth I felt on my cheeks was no longer the heat exchange from his little blonde head.

“You are not in trouble. I was just wondering why you don’t use all of your crayons,” I continued.

What seemed like 30 seconds passed as I wrapped my arm around his little waist and pulled him closer to me. He was still facing the other way, but I could feel his resistance as he opened his heart to share.

“Callie’s the artist, not me,” he said with a firm notion that he could only use black because artists use the whole box of crayons.

This struck a chord in me so dissonant that I recognized it the instant it spilled out of his mouth. Incensed with a passionate desire to teach my son that he is an artist, too, I physically turned Sean towards me and looked into his soul windows. I said nothing at first, just took mental notes of his beautiful face. He obviously wears the strokes of a master Artist.

“Sean, baby, you are an artist. God is the Creator and He made everybody in His image. You can use the entire box of crayons when you color. What is your favorite color?” I asked with mama curiosity even though I knew the answer.

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“Blue. Dark blue,” he shared.

“Well, then, by all means, use it! What things can you think of are dark blue?” I continued my colorful tirade.

“Water, bubbles, the sky, but only if it’s stormy.”

“Yes! And now you can use your dark blue crayon, right?” I asked.

“But, mommy, I didn’t know that I was an artist, too. I thought only Callie was the artist in our family,” he responded. I could tell he was trying to make sense of it all. To add some color to his monochromatic world.

“Everybody is an artist. Some people paint. Others make furniture or write or solve problems creatively or build legos! But, everyone has the capacity to create,” I explained.

As we were sharing, I could feel his body softening. The tension seemed to leave his little body as the mental realization of his new identity was taking shape.

Our conversation continued and soon he fell asleep with a new understanding of his creative ability. As he slept, I prayed over him and his new-found truths.

As the months of preschool passed by, I would check his orange folder when we got home each day. It was full of projects and worksheets all decorated with every crayon in his box.

But, the most revealing assignment that he brought home was his end of the year biography. His teacher asked them the following: What I want people to know about me. You’ll never guess what he wrote…

 

“I am an artist.”

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