Meet Shandra Smith: Artist

Shandra Smith is an Artist / Surface + Pattern Designer from British Columbia, Canada.

Shandra Smith is an Artist / Surface + Pattern Designer from British Columbia, Canada.

How would your best friends describe you?  

 I asked them.. and they said that I'm lovable, loyal, colorful, creative, positive and strong  (Luckily they politely missed out my negative qualities!)

When did the passion arise in you to become an artist?

When I was 34, my mom died suddenly and of course then you realize "Life is short, I need to follow my dreams now".  Also a few years ago, I was rejected by an art agent I really wanted to work with.. and that sort of fueled my fire to work harder at building my business.

How do you personally balance work and life all together?

Sometimes with difficulty!  I have to keep reminding myself what my priorities are (my family and my health).  I don't like to be too busy - it doesn't work for me personally.  I need to have time to breathe, do yoga, swim, read, etc.  I just need to look after myself - as well as my family, home and business.

Now talking beauty, When you look in the mirror what do you see?

I see a 43-year-old woman who is happy in her life.  I have some wrinkles and lines, but I have earned them!  I try to look at myself lovingly, and not be too self-critical, to be a friend to myself.

What is the best piece of advice you have received so far?

"You're just going to have to let some things slide".. advice from my older sister after I had my second child.

"Talk about money upfront" is another good one.  Too often, I think we as women, don't talk about $$ upfront - we are too concerned with being nice or wanting to be friends with the person, etc.. we are not assertive enough.

How do you personally work with a chronic illness with being an artist?

Because my chronic illness means I am often in pain, I have to deal with the negative emotions that go along with that - and I find that creating art helps me work through those feelings, and lift me up.  I often create colorful energetic pieces, which is the opposite of how I am feeling in my body!

As for the business side, I need to pace myself.  I can't work all the time because then I just don't feel well.

Hotel Zed Mural

Hotel Zed Mural

What inner lies do you deal with at times? and how do you keep positive in your life?

Like most women, I doubt myself sometimes, or have negative self-talk.  But then I remember that's not being fair to myself, and I consciously switch to a positive and kind inner dialogue.  I stay positive by surrounding myself with the right people, exercise (swimming, yoga), and being grateful for my amazing life.

What's something you would like to tell other women who are currently pursuing their dreams?

Don't give up.  Keep pushing forward.  Its not always going to be easy, but you will achieve your goals.  Be authentic, and do your own thing.