Have you ever been on Etsy? It’s a direct selling site that has a variety of artistic and handmade goods available. From sweaters, to perfume, to zines and jewelry. I got the lovely opportunity to speak to the founders of PaperishMess
on how they are getting started in the art world and opening up their own space in Chicago and supporting an art gallery and shop with local artist’ work.
1. How did you get involved in the arts?
Sean and I both got involved in the arts back in high school– we both took a photography class with one of our now infamous teachers, Mrs. Kessel. We were a year apart from eachother, so we took the class at different times, but I always had a blast going back to visit during Sean’s class. Mrs. Kessel made sure that we learned all the principles of photography, but more so she made sure that we learned it was ok to be a little crazy sometimes. ;]
2. What were you like in high school?
Knowing Sean in high school, my perspective is that he was goofy and super fun to hang out with. We had so many fun times hanging out with each other– he snatched my heart right up! He thinks he was quieter back in those days, but I guess I just didn’t notice. ;] I was the weird girl that waved to everybody in my grade, but happened to not really be friends with any of them, haha! I think I realized this pretty recently that I was actually way more awkward than I really thought I was back then.
3. How did you start Paperish Mess?
Let’s see… how did we start it? Well, it started with a bit of an idea, then a bit of planning, then a bit of doing. We decided to curate an art exhibit at an underground art show and then from there hosted our own pop-up art gallery shop during one of Chicago’s street festivals. The pop-up shop was a lovely start because we could see if there was a market or any interest in what we wanted to contribute to Chicago. Turns out there was, and lucky for us because we had already decided to dive in and rent a retail space at that point anyway! We’ve seriously considered owning our own shop for quite some time now and it got to the point where we just decided to go for it. It was the only way we would ever actually end up doing it. So, here we are, building out the new shop and looking forward to our grand opening party!
4. Any advice you give to high schoolers that may want to start their own business or go into the arts, or both?
Don’t be afraid to go after something fully and please remember not to hold on to or listen to anyone else’s negativity or dream-dashing comments. Learn what you can about the business/trade/art media that you want to get into and start making a personal connection with it for yourself. Keep moving in the direction you want to go in and never worry that it might not make you enough money.
Also, remember to keep your promises (to others and especially yourself) and it will help you get to where you want to be heading. It may take time, but don’t get discouraged. Things in life happen for a reason and often times we have no clue why it happens the way it does until much later on down the line. In the meantime though, breathe life in as much as possible.
5. What will Paperish Mess consist of?
The new space, Paperish Mess, will be comprised of a retail space showcasing original artwork in a variety of mediums and styles, as well as handmade goods and wares by independent artists. The new space will also be host to featured art exhibits, installations, and community centered events. We aim to create a place where those coming through our front doors, whether they be a local resident, a creative mind, or an independent artist can intertwine with one another.
6. How can you get involved in Paperish Mess?
Stop in the shop or shoot us an email! We’re always looking for new artists and creative minds to connect with!
A huge part of being involved in Paperish Mess is supporting the artists we work with– that’s a good reason of why we are here, we want to promote the work of emerging artists and connect them with art admirers in the Chicago area. If you purchase a piece of artwork from one of our artists– you are instantly involved with Paperish Mess and the growth of our humble local art shop.
We want to also really put focus on supporting our community in a number of ways– we’ll definitely be hosting community-centered art exhibits and workshops in the near future, so please stay tuned for more details about that as well. 🙂
7. How do you get from idea to taking action (most artists are full of ideas but forget to act or procrastinate)?
Well, a lot of what happened with Paperish Mess, was thinking about the idea of it for a long time. I had wanted to own my own small business for about 8 years now, since I first worked for an independent business fresh out of high school. I’ve made lists and dreams and imaginary floor plans of my “future business” for many years now, but a little over a year ago, Sean and I got to a point where we began thinking more seriously about it. Recently, we happened to realize that we didn’t have to just think about it or plan for it anymore– we could actually do it. I think that once you get to the point where it makes sense to act on your idea (trust us, it never seems to truly make sense), you just have to go for it- it’s almost like having an insane burst of crazy. But like I said before, it’s ok to be a little crazy sometimes. :]
8. Final thoughts, things to share, insights you would like to give.
Nothing is as simple or as clean cut as one usually hopes- starting Paperish Mess has involved a lot of ups and downs, but we’ve learned that you have to focus on the good stuff in order to ride out the waves. Every experience that we’ve had has brought us to this place right now, and if this experience of building Paperish Mess brings us somewhere else down the road, then that’s all we, as human beings, could ask for in the end. In the meantime, we’re so excited to be able to support independent artists, Chicago’s local small business economy and all the while, connecting with those around us in a completely new way.
For those of you that would like to contribute or would want to connect with the folks over at PaperishMess you can e-mail them here and take a look at their Facebook Page with lots of lovely pictures of the new space!
The opening of Paperishmess will be on November 10th at 1955 W. Chicago Ave. from 7-10pm. RSVP here!
Hope you are all living a BellaVie!