Hey! I'm Camille.
I've been doing art my whole life, or at least as long as I can remember. For the last 4 years, I've been growing as a self employed/freelance artist and illustrator in Portland, OR, navigating the pros and cons of freelancing and learning how to build a career for myself. Recently while looking around for a studio space to rent, I stumbled upon an amazing space in NE Portland Alberta Arts district - a neighborhood known for it's eclectic galleries and maker spaces, among other things. The space operates as a studio/retail shop, which means I can make it my workspace as well as sell my prints, cards, and original artwork at the same time! It sits inside the Alberta Studios building, which the owner likes to call a "mini mall." There are several retail shops inside (a record store, a home goods shop, and an apothecary to name a few), with a lobby/foyer area that connects them all. Even as an empty room with an old paint job and nothing in it, the space felt like home and I immediately went to work on a plan to make it my own.
Much of my work as a freelance artist involves client based work such as creating artwork for beer labels, coffee mugs, or event posters. In addition to this commercial work, It's beneficial for me to have as many random streams of income as possible. I am a self proclaimed "Queen of the Odd-jobs." Making paintings on my own time, and selling prints of them is a great source of consistent income for me, however finding the right platform to sell them can be hard as not everyone wants to buy things online, wholesale prices cut profits, and vendor fees for having a table at a market can be really high. This studio shop is a perfect way to create a physical place that folks can buy my work, without all these cuts on my profit.
Besides the obvious advantages of having a work/retail shop, it also creates an opportunity for me to host events and start working on my longtime dream of facilitating a sort of freelance community center - a place where I can host classes, skill shares, meet ups, and also share my space with people who need a nice place to work or just want a little company for the day! All these events would function to benefit the freelance/maker community (specifically women freelancers/makers). As someone who doesn't have a ton of friends in the freelance community, I have had to work really hard to learn the ins and outs of working for myself such as taxes, finding work, client communication, and building a community or support system. Examples of events I'd like to host are financial planning, tax workshops, illustrator/photoshop how-to's, freelance rates/transparency chats, etc. I'd also like to allow other makers - say jewelry makers, ceramicists - to have pop-ups in the space on a donation based system. I know there are a lot of makers that are starting out in Portland that don't have the opportunity to sell their work in a retail setting or the wholesale pricing is tough on them. This is a great opportunity for me to build a space for myself, but also a space that can nurture community and support in an industry that can be isolating and confusing!
I'd like the space to be bright and colorful - filled with colorful floral murals and brightly painted furniture. It will be welcoming, colorful, and funky. I'll need your help to make this space as amazing as I think it can be. I need help buying furniture and various structures for displaying work, things like paint, tools, office supplies, getting prints made, as well as a bit of a safety net for rent as I get started.
For those of you who know me, you know I have been working hard to pursue art as a career. This is a very exciting endeavor for me, an opportunity to have a space in Portland and make it my own. I have had amazing support over the years from friends and family, and I thank you all in advance for the continued support!
Risks and challenges
Getting the word out, getting enough people in to the shop! Also keeping up with creating new inventory while working on other projects.
Being at the space while working will help me see what customers respond best to, and allow me to chat with people about what they might want to see.