Paige Poppe is a 22 year-old powerhouse playing + working in San Luis Obispo, California where she’s currently finishing up the last semester of her undergrad in architecture.
Photo Credit: Weekends Are For Lovers
If you were to look at Paige Poppe’s artwork you might question, “How did she not do this her whole life?” The designs are intricate and the artwork bold, unique and incredibly her own—a sight to behold.
Surprisingly, she didn’t always see this as much more than a hobby. It came to her when she was fashion blogging and realized she wasn’t passionate about fashion and wanted to share the art work she was creating with the world—and so she did.
She had sold skateboard art on Etsy in the past but knew she wanted to get more serious in May of 2014 when she was studying abroad in Copenhagen. Shortly after the realization she launched a Kickstarter campaign to buy the necessary supplies and found herself pleasantly surprised when she had a fully funded venture under her belt when she returned home in June.
Today, she’s sitting down with me so we can talk biz, balancing work + play and what she does to wind-down after a long day.
Tell us about what you do:
I am primarily a skateboard artist, which is what most people know me as! I paint skateboards and do custom commissions on skateboard deck and longboard decks. I also make my mini cruiser decks by hand, which I truly love because the entire process is handmade. Besides skateboards, I just love to paint in general. I honed my watercolor skills in Copenhagen, and I practice with the medium every day. I also create Youtube videos weekly about my artwork and business, to share my advice + experiences with others.
So I guess that makes me a painter, a maker, a creator? It’s so hard to define ourselves these days because we have all learned to be so multi-talented, which I LOVE!
What messages do you hope to convey through your art?
I’m all about positive + creative vibes. PMA, positive mental attitude, is something that comes naturally to me, but I practice it every day and want to spread that to others. I also really hope to encourage people to be bold by pursuing their dreams. I believe that if you want to do something, you should!
Photo Credit: UnderClass Photo
Walk me through a typical day in the Paige Poppe office?
On a day that I don’t have a lot of architecture classes, I am most productive in my studio!
7:45 Wake up
8 -10 AM: Meet my girlboss photographer friend, Asia Croson, at Starbucks. We bring our laptops + notebooks, catch up, and have a crazy creative brainstorm sesh!
10-2 PM: Alternate between painting, answering emails, filming + editing videos, or shipping orders.
2-4 PM: Class!
4-5 PM: Zumba at my university gym
5-7:30 PM: Shower + make dinner, and do a little more creative work or website work
7:30-9 PM: Watercolor class with my architecture professor on campus
9 PM – 2AM: Paint more, watch tutorials, edit, read. On days that I have less class, I like to try and really focus on my business. Painting is also my form of relaxation, so I just end up doing it all the time
Can’t live without item in your business?
Definitely my Canon DSLR camera! High-quality content is important to me, so I always have my camera next to my current painting, to take photos + film. Also, a little secret is that basically my entire Instagram feed is taken with my DSLR, so it’s definitely a necessity!
What’s your favorite part about running your own business?
This is going to sound like a typical answer, but I can’t tell you how many amazing creative friends I have made since last year, including you Kayli! I have somehow met a ton of them through Instagram, and also just love getting coffee with new friends and chatting about creativity + being a small business owner. I am very lucky to have made a lot of creative friends in Arizona, so I am very excited to move back and hang out with them a lot more often!
Tell me a little bit about your art. What inspired you to start selling custom painted boards?
I made my first deck for myself in high school, after learning how to longboard.I really enjoyed the unique canvas because of it’s shape and because it was useable. Form and function! I also love the look and texture of raw, natural wood. So when I can, I try to reveal as much of the original wood surface as possible.
Photo Credit: Asia Croson
Where do you find your artistic inspiration?
I’m very inspired by crumbling old architecture—think worn red brick walls, and big tattered wooden beams. Lately I am challenging myself to incorporate my architectural eye + background into my artwork, and I am really loving the results.
I also love maps, the Arizona desert, cacti, the sun, old school tattoos, and pop punk music.
Anything you’re obsessing over lately?
As far as art goes, I’m really just obsessed with watercolors lately. Trying out new brands of paint, creating my own palettes, and practicing all the time. And as for something not art related, I’m dying over Lisa Messenger’s book Daring + Disruptive.
What advice do you have for an entrepreneur starting out?
Be bold, work hard, and be 100% yourself. Don’t try to be anyone else, because your unique self is the best thing you can offer the world.
I also recommend getting hooked on some good business resources! I listen to the raddest podcast, Being Boss, while I paint because it is chock-full of great advice. Also a huge reason I was inspired to start an online business was from watching from Alex Beadon’s videos on Youtube!
Photo Credit: Weekends Are For Lovers
Owning your own business is hard! What do you do to let loose + wind down after a long work day?
I love to go to Zumba because dancing is something I’m trying to tap back into! I also love catching up on my favorite Youtubers content, and love walking to our local farmers market on Thursdays with my roommates!
What all do you sell? What are you hoping (if anything) to add to the store in 2015?
I currently offer custom skateboards, longboards, and cruisers, as well as decks with my own designs. I sell a lot of paintings on wood, and originals + prints of my watercolors. In 2015 I really want to focus on creating more original pieces on top of my custom work!
Anything you like to snack-on while you work?
Besides a big jar of iced coffee…goat cheese! Spread some on piece of toast + put strawberry jam on top…you’ll die.
You can find Paige over on: