I am thrilled to share with you a bit more about an artist and entrepreneur I've had the pleasure of collaborating with for the past year and a half: Jen Scully of Mack and Ro.
Jen and I first connected via Instagram. Her work has a colorful, coastal vibe and so (of course!) I was immediately drawn to it. One day, she posted a watercolor map painting. I immediately pictured it on fabric ... and our creative collaboration began.
Since those few first message exchanges, I've come to admire Jen even more. The breadth of her creative work. The way she balances work and motherhood. Her passion for her creative business. And most recently, the exciting launch of her own wallpaper collection. (check it out here!). I hope you enjoy "meeting" Jen as much as I have enjoyed collaborating with her.
P.s. In celebration of our latest "Happy Place" pillow featuring the Chesapeake Bay, enjoy $25 off each purchase now thru Memorial Day 2018.
Tell us a bit about yourself: what's your hometown? What do you love to do? My childhood and young adult years were spent in Massachusetts and Maine, and I've lived in coastal Connecticut for the last 10 years. Coastal New England runs through my veins - I grew up on the beach in Gloucester, MA, lived and got married on an island in Maine, and live on the beach here in Connecticut now. The ocean is such a huge part of my art, my life, and my well-being. I breathe deeper when I'm by the ocean.
What do I love? Well, clearly the sea. I love dogs - I have two rescues (Lulu and Nick). I love time to myself (I'm a total introvert). I love my husband and two kids - Macklin (7) and Ronan (3). And I love, love, love art and design.
What's a typical day? What are your favorite ways to spend a day?
My typical day involves an early wake up from my two boys. I work part-time at a non-profit, so our mornings are total chaos getting everyone up and out the door. During the day, I'm either at the non-profit, or I'm home painting, drawing, designing. I have a hard time with any downtime. Ever since I started my own art business a couple of years ago, I CAN NOT shut off the creative side of my brain. My brain is like a constant slide show of ideas - when I'm in the car, in line at CVS, sitting in a meeting, and going to sleep. There will never be enough time to create everything my brain produces.
You asked my favorite way to spend a day. I have two... one is entirely by myself. I'd walk the dogs on the beach, paint, draw, and repeat. Heaven! The second is with my family on an adventure. We are our at our best when we are busy and have something to do. A hike, the aquarium. a museum. I love watching my kids see and experience new things.
One of Jen's original abstract paintings in a beautiful interior.
Where does the name Mack and Ro come from? Well, by now you know, it's from my kids. Macklin is my older son, age 7, and Ronan is my younger son, age 3. I used to dream of opening my own store and I always thought I'd name it after my kids. At that time I thought I'd have a girl and I'd name her (and it) Grace. Clearly not in the cards, so here I am with Mack & Ro. I love their names and love that they are a part of my business.
What inspired you to begin painting? I have always drawn and painted. When I was little I'd spend hours designing floor plans of my dream house. My mom was an interior designer, so design was a huge part of our life. I feel really lucky that my education supported my interest in art. I went to a small private school in Maine where I could take as many art classes as I wanted. Without that experience in high school, I'm not sure if I would be painting today. I took fine art classes in college, and went to grad school for art therapy. I stopped creating for a long time because life got in the way (kids, work, marriage, etc.) Then one day, I just decided I was going to try to make this a career. Literally one day. That's kind of how I do things. If I feel strongly enough about it, I just do it. So, I started by painting watercolors and selling them locally and online, and things just grew from there.
What inspires me now? I can pretty much find inspiration in anything! It could be something more obvious, like my coastal surroundings; but often it's a color I see somewhere, and interaction I witness between people, a meeting, etc.
Tell us about what's next. Oh my gosh ... I have a hard time stopping! I started with watercolors, then moved to acrylics on canvas. Then watercolor illustrations, prints, PILLOWS!! and now greeting cards and ... wallpaper! I'm so excited to have just formally launched these new lines.
Favorite coastal town? I honestly can't name one favorite, but anywhere I can get down and dirty with some lobster is up there on my list.
What's a fun fact or something about you that may surprise people? I am a total introvert. I prefer solitude, or just spending time with the people I'm closest to.
What advice or words of wisdom would you give to another mom/artist /creative entrepreneur just starting out? Just go for it. When I started my business, most people probably thought I was crazy (and still do). I work a day job and have two young kids, with little to no time to myself. I knew there wasn't time, but somehow I had to make time. I painted at night, during naptime, on the weekends (and still do). I painted in my bedroom, and kitchen table, and still do most of the time. It was the best decision I could have made.
Also - don't overwhelm yourself with what you don't know. When I started, I didn't know how to ship a painting. I didn't know how to create a website, create a digital design, a print, etc. Don't let those things stop you. You will learn as you go, and get better as you go.