Updated: Feb 5, 2020
Many people spend their childhoods dreaming of a career in the creative arts. This is not surprising because children rely heavily on their imaginations and creativity to make sense of the world around them. Society empowers kids to appreciate the colors and flavors of life, and it encourages them to delve into their creativity without inhibition. We tell our children to experiment and to question, and we give them the space to try new things, make mistakes, and figure things out for themselves. But how many of us grow up and live a life driven by the creative passions of our youth? How many of us actually do what we love for a living?
Most people eventually grow up, graduate, and get shuffled into the rat race of adulthood where the decision-making process is driven by the pressure to make money, pay bills, and buy stuff. Most people assume that the security of a steady paycheck feels better than the satisfaction of doing what we love; and most people think that those two things are mutually exclusive. Most people find a comfortable rut to exist in once they reach adulthood. Most people cast their true desires aside like clothes before diving deeply into the waters of the main stream. Most people accept a life drenched in capitalism and dripping with conformity. And even though most people would likely be happier doing what they love for a living, most people arent that brave. Most people aren't Mione Plant.
Mione Plant is a rising star in both the art and fashion industries. She's based in Dallas, and her work has been featured in D Magazine, Architectural Digest, Art + Seek, Society Social, Advocate, and many other prestigious publications. Her latest popular collection entitled, "Kiss My Sass" was featured at the renowned North-Dallas luxury boutique, Tootsie's. She has her own line of silk scarves featuring her inspiring designs, and each piece she creates has an amazing story accompanying it. Mione Plant is a picture of success as an artist, and I wanted to catch up with her to see what makes her tick.
She and I had crossed paths many years ago, as teenagers growing up in a small Texoma town, and I knew back then that she was going to take the world by storm. Then, she grew up, moved to the big city, and worked as an engineer for a Fortue 500 tech company for 10 years, before quitting to become an artist. I came across her work while scouting some new pieces for my personal collection, and I was blown away. Even though I knew she was a big time artist now, I recalled Mione to be a very kind and approachable person, so I had my people reach out to her people, and thankfully, I was able to snag an interview. Here's how it went:
Me: So, after an awesome 2019 spent making a splash in the art world, what do you have up your sleeve for 2020?
Mione: Well thank you for the kind words! I realize that I've spent a huge majority of my life setting goals, making plans, and setting out step by step to achieve them. That was certainly the case while I was in high school in Sherman, and then that mindset continued through college and my professional life. What stunned me was how I was willing to let go of those plans, that careful and structured path, once I left my engineering career. I saw that a well-thought out plan doesn't always work, and I felt a lot of freedom stepping away from that plan and structured life, and allowing more room for the spontaneous, to be guided by my curiosity and desire for creativity. So for 2020, I continue that philosophy - I'm not making big goals of things I must achieve, but rather listening in to what feels exciting to explore further, as it comes.
Me: You went from tech boss to talented visual artist so seamlessly. You could be anything in this world but you're an artist. So, did you choose art, or did art choose you?
Mione: It was a long journey towards rediscovering the creativity I had as a child, and
gradually bringing that back into my life. While working in NY, for Texas Instruments, I decided to start saying YES to everything - trying new things, following curiosities, being open to things I'd never tried before. What I found was that I must live a life filled with creativity - its at my core and I must always nurture that. Over the past 15 years, I've tried all types of creative outlets - including jewelry making and interior design, but I was pleasantly surprised when I started painting - I felt an interest that didn't fade, and knew I wanted to do more and more. So I think creativity chooses us all - we are all creative at our core - we just have to be open to listening to that urge to create and explore it.
Me: What are some of the business challenges you face as a successful artist?
Mione: A big challenge as an artist, or for any entrepreneur is getting your work, products, and/or services in front of more and more people. It can feel daunting starting from scratch, as you work to slowly build your audience. I've found collaborating with other businesses and entrepreneurs to be a huge support. However, its important to partner with those that have your best interests in mind, where you can both create a win-win partnership. I'm learning to understand when something will be a good fit or not.
Me: So I work with actors, musicians, and filmmakers, etc. as an entertainment/art attorney, but I havent really worked with many painters. Do painters mostly handle their business personally, or do they stick to creating the art and let others manage the business aspects?
Mione: I realized when I started my art business, that I love being an entrepreneur, and that I've always wanted to be one. Watching my Mom leave her career to start her own business at 43, inspired me to do the same someday. So now I hold tightly to the business aspects, I enjoy the back end work like developing and maintaining my website, and especially marketing and sales - things I spent a lot of time doing in my engineering career. I want to engage personally and directly with each customer - it gives me such energy to connect and learn why someone gravitated towards my work.
Me: So I have to ask, do you have an art lawyer?
Mione: Yes, I've learned so much from consulting with art lawyers - especially with regards to securing copyrights to protect my work, and in reviewing contracts for new partnerships. Creative/art lawyers have taught me to read contracts and agreements with a closer eye, and to ask questions whenever something is not clear. They've given me the confidence to speak up for my interests and my rights. I no longer think of lawyers as someone you bring in after something as gone awry, but to have them as part of your team to proactively anticipate possible roadblocks to prevent them ahead of time.
Me: What advice can you offer aspiring artist?
Mione: Just keep painting. Even when you think no one else cares if you do the work, that you gotta keep getting in the studio and creating. That you learn and gain inspiration by doing, by putting in the hours and not giving up. Create what you love and what you want to hang in your own home, not what you think will sell or will fit the taste of others. Consider what it is you want to say with your work, and most importantly, how you can play!
Me: Besides being an amazing visual storyteller, what else are you good at? Can you cook?
Mione: I think I'm pretty good at playtime lol! I love when my 4-yr son and I get some time to play and create and use our imagination, and especially when we go roller skating. Anything that helps me tap into things I loved as a child. I'm also big into interior design - and have loved setting up our home and finding ways to make it more and more cozy and joyful.
Me: What do you want to be remembered for in 100 years?
Mione: Oh snap, I haven't thought of that. Well actually, I remember my therapist once asked me - when we were talking about how I wanted to leave my job to become a full time artist- if someday when I'm 80+ years old, sitting in my rocking chair, will that matter? And I knew overwhelmingly, that yes it would. That separate from how other people remember me, I want to know that I continued to face my own fears, to push past my own limiting beliefs, to do the scary thing, again and again. For others, I hope they would remember the way I made them feel, that I brought color and light to their life in some way, that I helped them appreciate and recognize beauty in their everyday surroundings, that I helped encourage them to see the positive side of things and to choose optimism.
For more information about Mione Plant and to see her work, visit her website at MionePlant.com.
If you're brave enough to pursue a professional career in the creative arts, be sure to consult with an art or entertainment lawyer to get acquainted with some of the business basics of the art and entertainment industry.
My office is always happy to assist creatives in protecting their work and developing new relationships. To schedule an in-person or telephone consultation, send me an email.