We had the good fortune of connecting with Rene Gibson and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Rene, have there been any changes in how you think about work-life balance?
Balance is a tricky concept. To me, balance is fluid and achieved over longer periods of time. I see it this way now because I will be turning 56 this year and I have the privilege of being able to look back over many years. In my late 20’s and 30’s my life was all about raising two boys and managing the household. I was fortunate that I did not need to provide income for the family, so balance at that time was more about time management than anything else. Still, the social thought at the time was that women can, and ‘should’ have both a career and a family and do it with a smile. While I did not have career at that time, the nagging thought that I ‘should’ have a career threw me out of balance during those years. Once my boys got older and weren’t as reliant on me, I began to feel a longing for something more. Another pregnancy at 42 didn’t allow for much change, but I began some self exploration. I realized that the pressure I had felt to have a career earlier on was my own voice telling me that I needed to birth something other than babies and that is how I began creating art. So now that I have a business and one child still at home (a child who does two sports outside of school), my concept of balance has become more relaxed. I have come to realize that in order to achieve overall balance, my priorities had to become more streamlined. Creating art is an absolute necessity in my life, as is my family and our health. Knowing what is the most important thing in any time period has helped. Everything else is a bonus. On a more practical note, I find that I feel more in balance when I actually get something done. So everyday I try to get something done that leads to future goals. It may be small, it may be big. It may be family related, it may be business related. It just needs to get finished. On a more philosophical note, I find that staying really present in the moment does wonders for feeling balanced. When I feel most out of balance, I am either thinking about the past or worrying about the future. My best work, my best parenting, my best loving is done when I am most present. If I look back at me in almost any time of my life, I would say that at that moment in time I likely did not have a feeling of being balanced. My words of wisdom to younger me? Relax. Look at what you giving weight and what can you let go. Stay present. You’ll get it all done, or you won’t and it won’t really matter. You’ll make money, you’ll waste money. You’ll succeed, you’ll lose. You’ll do it all and you’ll do its opposite. Over time, my life as a whole is balanced and I am grateful.

Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
In the big picture my art takes a lot of little things and makes them into one large beautiful piece. It’s my metaphor for life. I started out with mosaics and quickly got into working with embellishing animal skulls. Eww, I know, but it became a sort of spiritual practice for me. My goal is to bring out the inherent beauty in animals and give them a second life. I use beading techniques, mosaics and Swarovski crystals. It is a slow and deliberate process that is done with great precision and care. I am most proud of a ten foot marlin that I covered in about 100,000 Swarovksi crystals. It took 535 hours to make over a two year span. It is an amazing piece to see in person and is currently for sale. I have to say that my journey was easy in that the work is a natural fit for me and I do it very well. I think because of this and my ability to recognize opportunities, opportunities often came to me. I was fortunate to receive quite a bit of press (Western Art and Architecture, Cowgirl magazine, Palm Beach Illustrated, Marlin Magazine, Vogue Paris (web edition), Elle Brussels (web edition) without chasing it and even had two skulls appear on television (Restaurant Impossible, The Food Network). The biggest challenge for me is making consistent money. My work is a slow process and I usually make only one of a kind pieces. I have only replicated four of my designs. While I absolutely love what I do, my challenge has been finding a way to make more money while keeping the integrity of the art. I’m still working on that. I have two lessons that I’ve learned along the way. First, work. Stay in the studio and work. Put the time in; simple. Second, honor the artistic process. Sometimes creations come to me quickly and others I have to set aside for a year or more. Early on, I would try to push through if a design wasn’t coming together. Now, I let it sit and get back to it when the time is ready. It is always worth it to wait. As quirky as it may sound, I think the thing I would want people to know about my brand is that my work is born from love. I love what I do. I love the materials that I use. I love to honor the animals. I love creating unique pieces for my clients and they love it too.

Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I lived in Ireland for two years, so when people would ask where to go, I’d send them to the places that make Ireland special. I would do the same for a friend visiting here. Florida has so much to offer that other states do not have. Being a bit of a nature fan, I would definitely take a visitor to the beach, maybe a private airboat ride in the Everglades, a private fishing charter in the Keys, etc. I live in Palm Beach county, so there would have to be a tour of Palm Beach, maybe even the Flagler Museum followed by a cocktail at The Breaker’s or a milkshake at Green’s Pharmacy. We’d do dinner at Palm Beach Grill and grab lunch at The Dune Dog. I like to mix it up, gourmet and casual. I would consider myself to be an extroverted introvert, so we would also grill food at home and hang out and chat by the pool.

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
My shoutout goes to my husband, Arch Delmarsh, and my parents, Larry and Linda Gibson. It takes a village to succeed.

Website: https://www.renegibson.com/
Instagram: @renengibson
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/renegibsonartist

Image Credits
Joseph Rooney Rose Martin

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