Building Her Dream is excited to chat with Gurm from Phuket, Thailand who has been running her art business for five years.
Gurm, why don’t you start by telling us what your dream life looks like? Are you currently living in it?
My dream life is earning while doing what I love, inspiring others to be their authentic selves and spreading hope, beauty and smiles in the world. I am both living it and working on it. There is always scope to grow, develop, learn and improve.
Tell me more about the work you love doing.
I am an artist and content creator. I do drawings, paintings, mixed media, writing and vlogging. Also do commissions, workshops, and interviews.
Your art is beautiful. What inspired you to start creating these pieces?
When I first started, I created it for myself. I didn’t think that I would create for people or want to become a professional artist or anything like that. I didn’t think about my art being for people or the world at that time.
Because I am an introvert, I don’t like to open up about my feelings or emotions, and I needed an outlet for that.
I am so happy today. I got great news.
Today is such a hard day, it’s not going well.
I am really angry and I need to take out my frustrations.
I am so excited, I need a way to celebrate.
Whatever the emotion was, I needed an outlet, and art became that outlet for me. If I struggled with expressing, sharing or talking to someone about it, I got pulled towards art.
I was like if I can’t directly share my story because I am shy, introverted and don’t feel comfortable, then I can share it indirectly through my creativity.
I feel art connects humanity.
Whatever your age, gender, or nationality, art transcends all those borders. It goes beyond all that. We feel the same emotions. We have similar stories. We all go through struggles and celebrations. It is relatable to all of us.
Art can make us feel seen and heard.
So, while I may have started art for myself, and now as a professional artist (doing it for both myself and the people), I think it is a great way to connect humanity. I feel it gets rid of all our differences. It is its own language.
You’ve been creating your art professionally for 5 years now. What is one challenge you’ve faced along your entrepreneurial journey?
On January 4th, 2021, I found several of my artworks destroyed.
It was heartbreaking and soul-crushing for me as an artist. But I realized this could be a chance for me to revamp my creations, channel my inner artist and test myself to see what I could turn it into.
I took my destroyed 2015 and 2016 creations and turned them into a brand-new piece in 2021.
When I was thinking of how I could restore these works, one of the things that came to mind was the Japanese art form Kintsugi.
Kintsugi is the Japanese art of putting broken pottery pieces back together with gold — built on the idea that by embracing flaws and imperfections, you can create an even stronger, more beautiful piece of art.
Inspired from that, I used a gold pen to revamp my creations and create the Kintsugi collection.
Sounds like you took a negative situation and turned it into a positive one. Has being an introvert affected your business?
I have always been of a quiet nature, an introvert. There is a part of me that is comfortable if I stay unnoticed. I am ok with being the person that makes things happen in the background.
Art for me is a vessel to take a tiny part of my soul and express it in an external form creatively. It is a refuge, a therapy session.
Which is why it was initially difficult for me to share this vulnerability and personal stories with others. I kept my pieces private and hidden for a long time.
But Gurm, you might be thinking, you don’t seem like an introvert at all. There is no way.
It’s funny, when I start talking about art and creativity (the things I am most passionate about), I can go on all day, non-stop. It’s like a 360-degree transformation happens to me when I present myself as Gurm the artist.
Suddenly all the shyness and nervousness disappear.
What do you do to attract new customers?
I am active on most social media (FB, Insta, LinkedIn, Youtube). I also like to attend in-person art events, workshops, and exhibitions and connect with people there.
Is attending networking events a part of your marketing strategy?
Yes, I think it is important to meet and connect in person. Go say hi and build new friendships.
How do you define success for yourself and/or your business?
Usually, for people, success is making a name for yourself, plus fame and money. Ok, yes, this is a part of success, and it is important for living also. I know, I get that.
But, for me, success as an artist is more than that.
Because success for me is when people look at my paintings and smile. When people see my paintings and say “this made my day. I had a long hard day and looking at your work made me happy.”
Or when people tell me “listening to your story gave me strength and courage.”
“Reading your poem inspired me to do something.”
Or when people open up to me and tell me “I love art. But I don’t have the confidence to share with people and take the next step to be an artist. But you gave the confidence and I will start my art journey.”
So this is the biggest success for me. Ok, there is money, fame, and sales from my paintings, but for me, it’s more than that.
What advice would you give to other introverted women who are just starting their own businesses?
I would say being introverted is not your weakness, it is your superpower. Let’s see:
- You are a good listener and empath.
- You can connect with people and understand both sides of the story.
- You can make people feel seen, heard, and felt.
- You can take the things you are unable to express otherwise and share them through your work.
And if it takes some time to get comfortable, it’s okay. Do it at your own speed, in your own way. You got this.
Thank you for taking the time to share your story. Where can our readers find more information about you?
Photo credits: Gurm