Meet Your Maker-Abominable Ink

I am SO excited for this weeks MYM post. I had gone to an art festival in Kensington market recently in Toronto and I was instantly in love with the work I saw at the booth of Abominable Ink. I absolutely love her style and when I got home went on Instagram to see of I could find her to ask if she would like to be featured on MYM (obviously she said yes and I was over the moon).

Introduce yourself and your business.

Born in Paris, France, and having worked in entertainment for the past 25 years, I've shifted gears since 2010 to pursue my many passions including starting a freelance graphic design business called Abominable Ink, as well as DJing and art. I'm now residing in Hamilton and love to play with pop culture paradigms and remix them using a combination of hand-drawn graphite elements, textural macro photography and digital painting to compose surreal mixed-media collages. I mainly focus on 4 subjects - tattoo flash-inspired food, anthropomorphic domestic animals, the mystical powers of wild animal skulls and playful and humorous typography. My favourite thing in the world is to watch your reactions when you see my work - it makes my heart bubble up with so much love and happiness to see you smile!

How did you launch your business & what made you want to start a small business?

I launched Abominable Ink nine years ago when I was going through the Second Career program at Mohawk College. Having been laid off from a very long career in the TV/Film industry, jobs had become scarce so I decided to retrain in a career that had more opportunities available. I've taken on freelance clients the entire time I've worked a s a designer, but once I was done the training I did work for a local print shop that also offered many web services and marketing so I got a LOT of experience working on different types of projects, which gave me the confidence to branch out on my own in 2014. I've been super happy ever since! Working for myself and not having to answer to anyone is definitely freeing - as a creative I really started to blossom and evolve as a designer to better cater to my clients needs.

What are some struggles you had starting your business and how did you over come them?

Starting out is difficult when you don't have clients - luckily I had a lot of friends who needed my services so it was a slow but gradual process to build up enough of them to constantly stay busy and make income. I think the hardest part is to remain consistently busy, while having consistent income coming in the door. I find that keeping an even balance of new jobs coming in at all times, as well as invoices going out at all times really helps keep the cycle going. There's no consistency, but if you're brave and patient enough, everything comes around and works out in the end.

Where do you draw inspiration from?

As an artist, I draw inspiration from everything around me - from pop culture, comedy, nature, food, tattoo art, my community, and the work of other designers and artists. If I ever feel blocked creatively, I always like to step outside and go on random adventures with no motive in mind and see where my legs take me - I always seem to find something cool that will spark an idea and rush home to get it all down on paper.

What motivates you as a maker?

I'm motivated by my need to work independently - I'm fiercely independent and loathe having to go back to working for someone else. The harder I focus on my goal of self-sufficiency, the further I get from that world, so I keep pushing. What I do is so much fun I can't give it up!

What is a goal you set for yourself as a maker/artist and how did you achieve it?

My first goal as an artist was to see if I could make a significant chunk of my income from my personal work - my second year doing this, I managed to make half of my income! I basically signed up for every event I could get my hands on, advertised quite a bit, harnessed the power of social media, and spent more than half my days working away to make things happen.

My next goal is to be 100% creating for myself, rather than always creating for clients. While I love creating for others, I never have time to fit in all my awesome ideas and bring them to life.
What is your favorite part of being a maker?

The freedom. Freedom to wake up when I want, and make the most of my day.

Do you have any tips for new makers/ small business owners?

My advice would be to take things slow and don't quit your day job until you're absolutely positive this will be a lucrative enterprise. Running a business is time consuming, expensive, and often very disheartening. You have to be brave, keep pushing through the obstacles, and never give up. Know that you're going to be working twice as hard - but you'll be loving what you do, so make you really want to keep doing that one thing. It's not for the faint of heart.
What are some hobbies or interests you have outside of your small business?

I love hiking in nature, skateboarding and hanging out on the beach. Cooking is a big thing for me - I spend a lot of time in the kitchen making tasty things. Music is a big hobby and DJing is a fun way to be able to keep up with the intense cost involved in being a vinyl collector.

Share a fun fact about yourself.

Being 4' 11", duvet covers are my natural enemy. One of these days, one might swallow me whole.

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