We had the good fortune of connecting with Erin Donahue Tice and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Erin, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
When I started my own business, I was looking at it as more of a creative and therapeutic outlet to give me a release from the daily trials and tribulations of motherhood. I had just given birth to my second son George, and had two sons under two. It was a hectic and crazy time, and I had stepped away from my thriving career in public relations to focus on motherhood. I quickly realized that I needed to do something creative during the little downtime that I had in order to let my mind relax and to find my identity again. Around this time (2017), I was also searching for some abstract art to decorate my new home. I was having trouble finding anything I loved in the Austin market, so I decided to try my hand at creating a few pieces myself. I bought a ton of art supplies and quietly started painting in my guest house when my kids napped or went to bed. One thing led to another, and after about six months of painting as a hobby, I launched my art to the world on a website and Instagram.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
My art is a direct extension of my emotions, with expressionistic mark making as my form of communication. I began painting after the birth of my second son George, during a trying and emotionally exhausting period in my life. I had never picked up a paint brush before, but suddenly my feelings were much more easily expressed on canvas than anywhere else.
I tend to use bold splashes of color, layers of texture, various mediums, and the definition – and absence of – shapes and spaces to transport the viewer to another place in time, even if that place and time is abstract.
From far away, my canvases appear to have sharp lines, yet upon closer inspection, the viewer discovers delicate marks and subtle shadows that gives each piece interest. There is almost always an undercurrent of both black and white within my pieces, which offers balance amid a mostly colorful visual experience. And every now and then, color is stripped completely to offer a stripped-down neutral palette and sense of calmness, reflective of the more serene experiences in my life.
I like to challenge myself by playing around with different elements, everything from layering paper, foam and cardboard onto canvasses, to using acrylics, gouache, oil pastels, markers and charcoal to bring my pieces to life.
Just last year, after the birth of my third son, Andrew, I experienced debilitating physical limitations, and yet again – artwork helped heal me and bring me back to myself.
My ultimate goal in my work is to connect to others’ emotions by offering an intoxicating experience. I want people to continue to study my paintings over and over, always finding happy surprises hidden deep within the canvas, much like we can find deep within ourselves. I also want other mothers – who may be suffering from emotional or physical limitations postpartum to know that creativity is one of the very best ways to heal and to find yourself in the midst of the chaos.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Whenever I travel to Miami I love to eat at Prime 112. I can’t resist snacking on the candied bacon at the bar! I also love the Shore Club and Soho House Miami.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I first want to shoutout my former boss and longtime mentor, Samantha DiGennaro, founder and CEO of DiGennaro Communications. I spent about a decade working for Sam and she taught me nearly everything I know about PR and communications. But beyond that, she taught me so many other life lessons like the proper etiquette for entertaining a client, the right away to respond to a tough email, a polished approach to presenting oneself when asking for an investment of money, how to brand your own business from soup to nuts, how to have confidence and poise. She was so much more than just a great boss – she really went above and beyond to bring me into her inner circle and treat me as an adult when truly I was just a kid learning the ropes. She’s still in my life, and I use so many skills I acquired from her in building my own business today.
I also want to give my own parents the credit in the world for helping me get to where I am today. I’m an only child and grew up in a dual working parent household. Both of my parents held professional corporate jobs and needed to report to bosses and offices every day. I learned by osmosis because they both set such good examples for me in terms of showing up, going above and beyond in their respective roles, and staying with companies for many years at a time. They not only took their jobs seriously to provide for our family, but they found a way to have balance in life too. They never missed my dance competitions, and went to the ends of the earth to provide travel experiences for me starting at a very early age (when it was probably a stretch for them to do so). I was able to travel together with my parents as well as solo, and I’ll never forget how those experiences shaped me as a person and sparked my curiosity about the world
Michael Hunter Hannah Mayson Madeline Harper