The wide world of Instagram led me to the work and home of artist Angela Chrusciaki Blehm. Her profile read, “Obsessed with offbeat beauty” and her feed was endlessly color and different. Not that I’m hating on the white and bright look that is so popular right now, but I’ve got a bit of rebellious streak when it comes to decorating and I feel like Angela does too. She’s also got some amazing chops when it comes to color theory! I mean she painted her living room pink – and it looks amazing!
Read on to learn more about Angela and the artwork she produces at her home and studio in Georgia. Also, don’t miss the amazing new jewelry she has for sale. I bought a pair and LOVE them (see pic at end of the interview!).
- Name: Angela Chrusciaki Blehm
- Age: 41
- Current title/company name: Angela Chrusciaki Blehm
- Years in operation: 1…in this incarnation.
What is your first memory of making [art]/being creative? I don’t remember a time when I wasn’t making something…out of Play-Doh, clay, paper, crayons and markers. As a girl, I used to make books of my poetry and short stories and illustrate them.
How did your education or past work experience give you the confidence to go out on your own as a creative entrepreneur? An independent spirit is, for better or worse, a large part of who I am. Some say stubborn, whatever. I was driven to start my own art and design business after I graduated from college—being my own boss was very attractive to me. I then took some time off to have children and homeschool them. During that time I started a lifestyle-type blog and took on special projects as I could fit them in with young motherhood. As our children eventually transitioned to traditional school and after years of creating artwork for others and writing the blog, I felt like I had something unique to offer to an audience who could appreciate it. The timing felt right—I was ready to go—and I jumped right in!
Tell us about the process of launching your business. Best parts? Biggest challenge? Timing is everything in my journey: the incubation period of my ideas while I was homeschooling my children was crucial to my development and the availability of tools on the Internet to reach a vast audience gave me my reach. The business grew mainly from the network I had built while blogging. Influential people I had met along the way helped spread the news about my work—for that I am so grateful!
The best part is the support I receive from my husband and children. It is so encouraging to have cheerleaders at home.
The biggest challenge is the isolation of working by myself at home—for the most part I love this as an introvert, but I also realize that it doesn’t always stretch me as a person. Sometimes it allows self doubt to creep in, which is hard when starting something new! I’d love the give and take of a work community.
What is your favorite part of the creative process? What inspires you and why? I enjoy the inspiration surprises in the creative process. I never know where and when I will find inspiration. While I know I can count on finding inspo in museums, fashion, my children’s artwork, it’s the unexpected that gets me really excited. I have a hard time answering the “why” of inspiration. It seems to me to be a big mystery why we are drawn to certain things, why we like different styles and tastes. Certainly our upbringing and experiences culminate into a particular appetite, but there seems to be more to the why than that. I guess I like that it is mysterious.
What is the best advice you have for other female entrepreneurs? Surround yourself with positive and encouraging people—friends and/or family. It is a difficult juggling game as a woman to manage a work passion and the rest of life—you will need all the support you can get. For me, I owe so much to my husband and the partnership we’ve forged to pursue our individual passions.
Do you have a design philosophy, and if so, what is it? Do what makes one happy. Happy colors and patterns, offbeat choices that make one smile. Our homes should be cocoons of happiness and comfort (and I personally like to throw in fun). And don’t be afraid to be yourself even if it might be considered all-out weird.
Imagine your business/ art practice in five years. How would you like to grow? I hope I am still bubbling with ideas, energy. My children will be so much more independent and I am curious to see how that impacts my work and schedule. I’d love to be involved in some collaborations or maybe a large-scale project. I’m excited to see where each year takes me!
Do you have a most popular item? Yes! My Ribbon #5—a wood cut out that is painted in black and white stripes.
What do you enjoy most about the creative community where you live, or how do you collaborate with and/or support other artists near or far? I am pretty isolated where I work in the countryside so I rely on my online creative friendships a lot for support and camaraderie. The other artists I’ve met online have been so generous of spirit. I have recently collaborated with friend and local jewelry artist Cynthia Cochran on a line of colorful and bold earrings, which has been a lot of fun for me.
Centered By Design is my business name, but it’s also the idea that we can find a bit of sanctuary each day through design, that good design can center us and make us feel great. Does your design process center you in any way? If so, how? It not only centers me, it seems to give me life. I really have to be careful that I do not let the creative process take over my life, my thinking, my everything! I function best when I am exercising my artsy muscles—otherwise, I’m really a cranky person.
Angela’s Southern Favorites:
- Favorite spot to get inspired: The Blue Ridge Parkway for creative and spiritual inspiration
- Favorite florist: Is it bad to say the grocery store?? I like to put together simple arrangements.
- Favorite place to shop for home décor/furniture/thrift: Scott Antique Market and Decades Antiques in Atlanta. Screen Door Antiques in Asheville. 214 Modern Vintage in High Point.
- Favorite place for coffee: Panacea Coffeehouse in Waynesville, North Carolina.
- Favorite place for a sweet treat: My grandmother’s house in East Texas for homemade pie or if I can’t get there, I’ll take a scoop of Wildberry Lavender and a scoop of Salted Caramel from Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream.
Thanks for sharing your insights with us Angela! You can find more of Angela’s incredible work and follow along with her home decorating on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/angela_thepaintedhouse/
Here’s me in my fabulous earrings, go get yourself a pair and live on the wild side with Angela!
XO – CLAIRE