The Chatham Arts Council is investing in artists through our Meet This Artist series, introducing you to 12 Chatham County artists each year in a big way.
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Take a look. Meet your very inspiring neighbors. Meet This Artist.
For 14-year-old Amber Ross, art has not only been a comforting hobby as she’s grown up, but also a pathway to the world of entrepreneurship. Supported by her mom, Amber built her art business, Pink Ladybug Creations, while juggling painting, business tasks, and school. Read on to learn more about this young artist and entrepreneur!
Tell me about yourself.
I’m 14 years old, and I’m starting at Northwood high school as a freshman soon. I don’t really play any sports. I’m really into reading, math, and art, of course.
Tell me about your early days in art. When did you realize you were an artist?
I was probably around seven when my mom bought me some watercolors and paper. I loved playing around with those. The rest is history!
What do you like about art?
It allows me to express myself in a way that I’m not able to otherwise. I’m not really good with words so art is very therapeutic for me.
How do you feel when you’re doing your art?
I feel relaxed and very much at home.
What type of art mediums do you gravitate toward? Do you like painting, drawing, watercolors? What do you like most?
Painting. I’m not very good at drawing. I like to paint with acrylic on canvas. That’s what I’ve been focusing on recently. I haven’t really ventured into the other forms of art yet, which I’d love to do.
Tell me about your business, Pink Ladybug Creations. How did it get started? How did you name it?
My mom and I started it exactly a year ago. One of my mom’s friends saw my paintings and offered to buy them. The friend also has a niece who has a business, and my mom thought it would be a cool idea for us, so my mom did some research, and contacted a few people on how to get our LLC. That’s how I became an entrepreneur. The name, Pink Ladybug Creations, came from my love of pink and the nickname that my mom gave me, Ladybug.
How did you get connected with Webb Squared, the incubator for Black entrepreneurs?
Stephanie Basima Terry, the co-founder, is friends with my mom. My mom reached out to her and things got arranged.
What was it like starting up your own business? Did you find it was harder than you thought it was going to be?
Yes, it was very complicated, but my mom helped me with a lot of it.
What struggles have you had along the way?
One of the challenges has been trying to balance school, the business, and painting. It can be a real challenge sometimes.
What was it like to start selling your work?
It’s kind of scary, and it makes me feel very vulnerable at times, especially with pieces that I worked on for a really long time. But after a few sales, it got easier, and actually became kind of fun. Now I look forward to it.
Tell me about your abstract work. Where do your ideas come from?
Most of them sparked when I was in school. I started doodling on a piece of paper at my desk, and then I’d go home and sketch it out on a piece of paper and then on the canvas.
Do you find there are certain themes that come about with your abstract work?
A lot of puzzles.
Have you gotten connected with the art scene here in Chatham?
Yes. Onicas Gaddis, another local artist, introduced me to some people. I recently had a showcase with a few pieces at Smelt Art Gallery at The Plant, where I was able to work with another artist who was hosting it.
Where do you see art fitting into your future plans?
I really want to keep it as a hobby. I don’t think I’m going to make a career out of it because I want to go into the medical field. But art is a nice hobby to keep me grounded.
What is it about the medical field that interests you?
I like working with people and understanding how their minds work.
Tell me about some of your artwork.
My first piece was called “My Ladybug.” It’s a picture of a flower with a ladybug on it.
One of my favorite pieces is called “The Road Less Traveled.” It’s black and gray with a path of rainbow colors. It’s one of my favorites because I think it represents such a great message, which is that there’s gonna be a lot of darkness around you but you have to follow the road ahead.
“Rainbow Love” is another one of my other favorites. It’s my first really elaborate one that took me quite a while to make. It’s the colors of the rainbow, with rectangles that keep getting smaller.
It seems like your interest in both math and art have really intersected, given how geometric so much of your art is. Do you notice that they overlap?
I’ve never really thought about it that way, but I have always liked puzzles.
Tell me about the piece that looks like intersecting puzzle pieces.
That one was for autism awareness. When I was in fifth grade, we had a class for kids with disabilities down the hall from my class. I remember some of my classmates were making fun of them, and I felt really bad. Ever since then, I felt a connection with that community.
What’s your art workspace like at home? Do you have a little studio or do you work in your bedroom?
I work in my bedroom. I have a little blanket that I lay out on the floor. I enjoy it. It allows me to get the different angles that I need. A studio would be nice, though.
Who inspires you?
My mom. She’s a very hard worker, and she pushes me to do things out of my comfort zone.
If you had one dream for your business, what would it be?
I’d want it to be a lot bigger than it is, and I’d want it to make an impact on other young people of color, like myself, and help inspire them. I just want to make it known that they can do great things.
What do you see for the future of your business?
I want to keep it going for as long as possible, so we’ll see. I hope that it’s a part of my life in the future.
If you met a young artist who wanted to own their own business like you, what would you say to them?
Of course you can! If you want it bad enough, you’re gonna get it.