Erin Donahue Tice spent over a decade working in public relations, working his way up the corporate ladder in agencies in major cities across the country. “I made my debut in Chicago,” she explains. “I then moved to New York and have always worked in corporate communications, and I loved my career. “
By 2014, Erin had become senior vice president of her company, and she and her husband moved to Austin, Texas for her job. She was able to continue working remotely, but other life changes began to take precedence over her career. “Very soon after moving here… we had our first child,” she says. “Twenty months later, we had our second child. After baby number two arrived, Erin decided it was time to take a break from public relations and focus on her role as a mother.
“I focused on being a mom with two little boys under the age of 2 – and it was wild,” she recalls. “[It was] much harder than my PR job, and my second son George was a real handful. He had colic and cried all the time and it was just a lot to deal with. Not to mention that I had a 20 month old child who was also very needy and my husband was traveling all the time for work. It got me a bit into funk.
She started to feel this way when George was 8 months old. Although Erin loves her sons more than anything, she says she knew she was in desperate need of an outlet that would allow her to feel energized and inspired again. Meanwhile, Erin was also looking for artwork to decorate their home. “I knew I wanted to do abstract art, but I couldn’t really find what I wanted locally,” she explains. “I saw some stuff online, but I really wanted to buy something in person. I couldn’t really find [what I wanted]. I thought, what the hell, why don’t I try to do something myself? “
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Erin had never tried painting before, but she loved writing and acting and was a dancer growing up, so she felt confident in her innate creativity. “I had a creative bone in my body, but I had never painted,” she says. “I ended up going to the art store, buying a bunch of stuff and just experimenting. It went on for six months while I became almost obsessed with painting. When my kids were napping, when they were in bed at night, I would go out to our little guesthouse at the back of our garden and paint – and it just got better and better.
One day, Erin received some friends. They took a look at his paintings and suggested that he try to sell them. At first she was hesitant; she had never intended to start a business with her artwork – it was just a hobby. But her friends insisted, and eventually Erin decided to give it a try. “I built a website, I launched my Instagram, and I just said, you know, I’m going to see what happens,” she recalls. “Within a week, I sold my first piece – and then it all took off from there.”
Erin used her PR and marketing expertise to get her name out there, and before she knew it, she had caught the attention of galleries asking her to represent her. “I was having so much fun not just being an entrepreneur and building a business and a brand, but painting and having that release of being a mother,” she says. “I was able to do both in a way. And even though there was so much on my plate, I was happier than ever.
It was three years ago. Today, Erin sells her multimedia works to people across the country. Working primarily with acrylic as a base, she uses various other mediums in her pieces. “I layer all kinds of other materials,” she explains. “Charcoal oil pastels; sometimes paper [or] mousse. I have already put newspaper on pieces. I’m kind of always on the lookout for different materials that I can put on the canvases to add interest.
Regardless of the materials used, Erin says much of her work is inspired by various places she has traveled. Everything she creates is abstract, so these aren’t literal interpretations, but the hues she uses are often influenced by a particular place or memory. “We have a second home in East Hampton, and it’s my happy place, my favorite place in the world,” she says. “Lots of colors out there – from the ocean to the trees, to the flowers, to the hydrangea that blooms in the summer – these are all colors that I imagined in my mind. So that was a [place that has inspired me] … Travel is a great inspiration.
The second major source of inspiration for Erin is interior design. After all, she first started painting to furnish her own house with art. “The marriage of art and design is so closely linked that looking at design-inspired images that appealed to me gave me starting points for my art,” she says.
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Commissioned parts are Erin’s primary focus, but his work is also available online at good + wonder and knots and blue; as well as in Houston at Paloma & Cie.; in Dallas at Collective; in Austin at Bay hill design, Director’s art agency, and Austin Design House; and in Richmond, Virginia, Liza Pruitt.
“I really want people to know that it’s not too late to have a second act,” she adds. “Even though I’ve been in public relations for most of my career; that’s why I went to college. I was a mom, and now all of a sudden I’m an artist. Just because you’ve never done something before doesn’t mean you can’t try it and be successful. I think a lot of people get stuck in what they’re doing, and they don’t really see that there maybe something else you can do as a side activity until it becomes your activity. main.
Learn more about Erin and explore her work on erindonahuetice.com.
Enter this month’s Southern Artist Giveaway competition to win a $ 2,700 piece of art by Erin Donahue Tice 26 × 26. Click HERE to enter!
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