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Meet Keli Schaefer

Today we’d like to introduce you to Keli Schaefer.

Hi Keli, please kick things off for us with an introduction to yourself and your story.
As I struggle heavily with depression and anxiety, art has always been a natural form of communication for me.

Another outlet to express how I felt without necessarily always having the right words for it. When I am in those clouded mental states, sometimes there ARE no words for it.

The heavy feelings, the fear, and paranoia are all like loud screaming voices and it can be a very scary place inside your head. Sketching, coloring, and painting were all ways to soothe those feelings, the colors center my focus helping to silence the pain.

My community and the majority of my family were never supportive of anything that stood out from what most considered “normal.”

Art was not something that was appreciated or welcomed, yet heavily criticized and often dismissed as unworthy of one’s time. Art became a closed door for many years for me for this reason. Music was something I dove into instead because it felt good and in most situations was “acceptable.”

I love music so much and to this day I play guitar and bass, and I absolutely LOVE to sing. I sing almost all of the time because it always makes me incredibly happy. Singing is how I got back to art and became the catalyst for my passion for painting.

It was the fall of 2016 when my family and I were not in the best financial position. The only income my husband and I had was a music gig here and there for our acoustic duo. Unfortunately, still to this day, there is a stigma that musicians and artists alike should gift their talents for “exposure,” so if you did get a paying gig you could only ask for a certain base amount.

Our situation called for more income than we were finding so I tried to think of a way to add value to our acoustic show. How can we charge the venue the same but also make more money?

The idea of painting and singing at the same time came to life! Inspired by street artists in Nashville who sell their paintings for tips, I decided I was going to paint and sing while selling my art too, and it worked! Even though my paintings weren’t that great at first, people were blown away.

As I practiced I got better and bought better supplies. At one point we were playing 4-5 shows a month selling 15-20 pieces on average for each show. Over time we collected and saved enough money to move forward and grow a new and fun career. Shortly after, I had my own studio in my house and I was painting all of the time. I still wake up at 2 or 3 am and just paint for hours.

Today, I am a full-time artist and my business name is Artist For Hire. I specialize in landscape acrylic painting, but I also offer portrait painting, face painting, painting classes, caricature, window painting, and mural services. My husband and I also still perform our music and painting act as Borrowed Time.

My hope is when people learn about my story they will see that you CAN succeed as an artist. It is hard work, and dedication but it can also help you communicate effectively, heal your broken heart, and sometimes even save a life.

Can you tell our readers more about what you do and what you think sets you apart from others?
Today, I am a full-time artist and my business name is Artist For Hire.

I specialize in landscape acrylic painting, but I also offer portrait painting, face painting, painting classes, caricature, window painting, and mural services. My husband and I also still perform our music and painting act as Borrowed Time.

I am proud of my journey and the opportunities it has presented me not only to grow as an artist but as a person.

I can’t say I would be able to identify anything that sets me apart from others other than just being myself. Art has never been a competition for me but an opportunity to learn from others and apply it in your art practices in your own way.

We love surprises, fun facts, and unexpected stories. Is there something you can share that might surprise us?
I am a pretty upfront person so I’m not sure anyone would be surprised if they did find something out! Ha!

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