Today we’d like to introduce you to Carly Mejeur.
So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
I grew up painting and drawing, attended an art magnet middle school and high school in Palm Beach County and was given a scholarship to attend The Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) in Baltimore. I paid my way by working jobs and internships during the school year but primarily, through summers and winter breaks as an ocean lifeguard for Palm Beach County. I love diving, swimming, surfing- anything ocean related, so it as the perfect job.
After I graduated with my Bachelor of Arts in painting and my Master of Arts in Teaching, I came home to Florida full-time and became an art teacher for the Palm Beach Maritime Academy. I was kind of burnt out from painting so much in school but watching my students grow and learn was so inspiring and my focus really became holistic projects that helped them use their creativity to solve problems, (ocean conservation mostly). My middle schoolers once designed a sustainable xeriscape after learning the elements and principles of art and how they can be applied in the world.
My own painting started to take off when my friend’s dad urged me to experiment with his old nautical charts. He was a boat captain and treasure hunter with Mel Fisher and needed to get rid of 40+ pounds he’d stored away. After my first painting on the chart, I knew I would be hooked for awhile! I painted one for him to commemorate his life and his days living in Key West, one for myself and a couple others I have to friends and then started selling prints to my fellow teachers at school. I tried art league shows and used the extra money to chip away at my student loans. I also was able to give back by donating to tons of different conservation organizations!
Finally, when I became pregnant with our first son, my husband suggested that I try to make a living out of it because child care was just as expensive anyway. Suddenly, the extra time and freedom to create, made a huge difference in my work and helped me explore so many new subjects and opportunities. I love visiting new places in Florida for Art shows and experiencing their unique “locals”- creatures that could become a potential painting. Now, I paint at home (during naps) or with a babysitter, and attend art shows during season, meeting tons of new people every weekend. I am so pleased with the feedback from the community as people relate to and appreciate the character of the animals I’ve captured. Painting on charts also keeps me on my toes, as each painting presents it’s own challenges and surprises!
We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc. – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
Somehow, I’ve been blessed with new opportunities every time it looks like there is a road block. When I came home from school, the recession had just happened and they hired the lowest amount of teachers that year ever! I was the only person that stood up at our beginning conference when they asked if there were any “specials” teachers in the room. I was the only art teacher hired in palm beach county in 2010?! The charts themselves are hard to paint on with watercolor and they obviously can’t be waterproof, so I had to keep finding new techniques to get my painting to work and interesting ways to frame them along the way. I also have a hard time painting with two young, wild boys. However, those times that I can’t paint because they need to go outside and exert some energy. I can see the world through their eyes and get inspired by our natural surroundings. This year has really been all about birds in my paintings but being pregnant, it limited a lot of my underwater activities. I feel very fortunate that the things that I’m painting are a part of my life and now I’m able to under stand them at a new level while studying and being inspired for new paintings. Leaving a steady income with benefits and no adding to mouths to feed sounds like a risk but it has been an abundant blessing for our family!
So, as you know, we’re impressed with Carly Mejeur Marine Life – tell our readers more, for example what you’re most proud of as a company and what sets you apart from others.
I’m known for painting on nautical charts. There are other artists that use charts as a medium, but I think that I’ve really absorbed it as a part of my life and people can sense that. It is definitely novel, some people come to my booth at an art show and shoes a painting without actually looking at the painting, they just want where they live, I get it. We all want to feel connected with the places we’ve been to places where from and where ever we are going in the future but I’m proud of how I use watercolor to make viewers aware of the marine life that seamlessly fits in this place too. I’m most proud of the fact that I can personally do something to help local causes raise money to solve issues like coral bleaching, invasive species and marine debris. I’m also proud to have a community of like-minded, amazing people following my work and supporting me at shows and on social media. I will continue to push myself as an artist and as a human being, to make a difference wherever I can.
So, what’s next? Any big plans?
My husband and I are looking forward to raising our boys to understand and appreciate our planet. For now, being the best parents we can seems like the most important thing for our future. Teaching them what it means to be human and how to take care of themselves, other people and our world is a pretty daunting task. I know now from experience that my life feeds my work as an artist, so I’m just going to keep on living it!
- Limited edition prints start at $30
- Address: 4906 S. Dixie Hwy
West Palm Beach, FL33401
- Website: Carlymejeur.com
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: Carlymarineart
- Facebook: Carlymejeurart