How Mahala Proved Herself To Be A Great Artist After Being Told ‘No’
North Carolina raised artist, Mahala best is known for her body positive paintings. Similar to many artists, Mahala struggled with people doubting her career choice but she didn’t let it stop her. Now located in Texas, Mahala is preparing to start her own art shows and galleries.
Read more about how Mahala entered the art industry and the lessons she learned along the way.
Childhood and Beginning of Career
Mahala was raised in a household that traveled a-lot. Since they were always relocating, she didn’t grow up like a normal american. Growing up, her mom always made her take art classes and stressed the importance of attending school. She never imagined being an artist, Mahala didn’t even consider herself to be a great artist until she started posting her work on social media. Her mom never told her she was good at anything, so she was confused as to what she was good at. Taking art classes led her to start drawing everyday, she even drew the guys she dated and had crushes on throughout her school years.
After finishing college, Malaha was still unaware of what she wanted to do with her life, until one day her dad told her the drawings she had been drawing were nice enough to sale. Her dad was the first person to tell her she was talented. He even encouraged her to keep drawing and to start selling her art. She immediately started posting more of her work on Instagram and sold her first few pieces which happened to be portraits for $5. The push she needed to continue started pouring in. She started receiving so much support, love and compliments on her work. Over the time she increased her portraits to $25, went viral and woke up to 40 commissions the next morning. Overwhelmed she started taking notice to things that worked and didn’t so much work for her in business. She had finally found something she was great at and decided to go full fledge into her new career.
Insecurities and Struggles As An Artist
She received so much support from everyone except her mother. Her mother was really big on college and felt like she didn’t have the credentials to be a professional artist. The pieces Mahala decided to paint made matters worse. She has always been a women who loved body figures and body positive art. Her favorite work of art is painting naked women, couples and their precious features. Her mom absolutely hates it and has even mentioned her not doing anything in life. Still with the determination to be an artist she continued to paint every day to the point where her portfolio was so big she was able to start charging more for her work and not having to paint so much. Shortly after she decided to move in with her dad who has his own business and started giving her business advice.
Up until recently Mahala has had insecurities with her self and work due to her moms way of how things should be done. As mentioned earlier her mom didn’t too much like her chose of art and even went to the extreme of sitting down with her to talk about the person she had become after hosting an erotic painting class and drunk and draw with a nude model. Mahala explained how she’s an adult and everyone does everything she does but just expresses it differently. Another part of the insecurities comes from her sister also being an artist that does everything she does but isn’t out in the open as Mahala and is in college for it. She explained how they also secretly compete with each-other behind this, nothing in an envious way but in a way to prove a point and her worth as an artist. In her head it affects the two, because her mom thinks her sister is doing everything the right way rather than her taking the entrepreneurial route. Her biggest fear is finding out that her sister was doing it the right way all a long and she’ll have to later work for someone else.
Advice for other artists
Mahala a gave us so much creative advice from which she learned from her journey. One advice is to not set your prices too low and have so many projects, versus setting your prices higher and doing a few projects. This helps you focus more on one project than cramming so many in and losing your creativity. Another advice is to have contracts with specific details so that the process is protected. Her last advice is to relax and let the process take it’s course.
Mahala considers herself a social media artist and she has a love/hate relationship with it, because she’s been put in a box. She thinks art is supposed to be in galleries and not so much on social media. After mentioning Net Neutrality, she stated that she wouldn’t be worried because this will open up another level of her business. She’s currently working to meet more people, pass out her business cards, be more front and center than behind her phone.
Since Mahala has been in Houston, she has been connecting with a few Houston natives and plans to shake up the city with some art shows and being featured in galleries. She also plans to take a break from commissions to spend more time traveling for more inspiration.
To find out more about Mahala, follow her on Instagram @preudhommeart!