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Colleen Williamson on Forging Her Own Path as an Artist Despite Having Zero Formal Training

Black and white photo of Colleen Williamson.
Colleen Williamson, artist and founder of Kisco Print Shop. Photo courtesy of the artist.

Colleen Williamson was a marketing executive but charted a new course as an artist and entrepreneur, launching Kisco Print Shop in 2014. Colleen recalls that she wanted to explore her creative passions while spending time with her family. Colleen combines colors, patterns and shapes in her work and describes her prints as “bright, vibrant and modern.”

Framed rainbow art print by Colleen Williamson of Kisco Print Shop.
Photo courtesy of Colleen Williamson.

Although Colleen has no formal art training, she isn’t a stranger to running a creative business. She once worked at a New York City showroom that housed accessory labels such as Kate Spade, Me+Ro and Slane & Slane. The experience inspired her to launch a clothing label.

When asked about what inspired Colleen to launch Kisco Print Shop, she said, “I’ve always been drawn to the creative side. Colors, patterns and shapes have intrigued me with all the combinations that can be made to create various pieces of modern art.” The artist also shared that her prints are popular with interior designers, and she hopes people use her designs to create spaces in their homes that elicit smiles.

Artisan Joy interviewed Colleen to hear more about her and her artwork.

Photo of a framed art print by Colleen Williamson. It shows black abstract lines against a white background.
Photo Credit: Lauren Scruggs Kennedy. Photo provided by Colleen Williamson.

AJ: When did you realize that you could turn your craft into a business?

CW: When I first partnered with Minted, and I started to see my artwork in interior design projects by Emily Henderson.

Editor’s Note: Emily Henderson is a stylist, author of “Styled: Secrets for Arranging Rooms, from Tabletops to Bookshelves,” TV personality and founder of stylebyemilyhenderson.com.

AJ: Where do you find inspiration for your creations, and how do you apply it to your work?

CW: I am inspired by textile design and interior design. I incorporate shapes and colors that I see in architecture, nature and textiles to create a unique piece of art that I know my customers are looking for.

Abstract art of overlapping rounded shapes in white on a blueish-gray background in a white frame in a kitchen.
Photo Credit: Pencil & Paper Co. Photo provided by Colleen Williamson.

AJ: As creatives, we can be continuously creating and refining our art. How do you handle perfectionism?

CW: I’d say I’m pretty far from being a perfectionist. The cycle of just getting it right can bog you down and prevent you from moving forward with your vision.

AJ: What advice would you give to someone interested in putting their art out into the world but feels vulnerable about it?

CW: There is an audience for every kind of art! Seriously. There will also be a person who is drawn to your art—and if there’s one person, they just might have a few friends too.

AJ: Has someone ever criticized your artwork? How did you handle it?

CW: Of course! I’ve been rejected so many times—but again, maybe it’s just not that person’s style of art, so try again with someone else. I am glad that I kept persevering because I think I’ve found a niche.

AJ: Creatives are often very in tune with what’s happening in the world. Sometimes it can feel overwhelming. If this happens to you, how do you cope?

CW: I am definitely an empath—so I’ve learned that I can’t be totally in tune with everything going on in the world. I pick a few passion projects and focus my energy on those and on my family and friends.

AJ: Are you are passionate about a cause and why?

CW: My amazing father passed away from ALS. It’s a hideous disease that I wouldn’t wish on anyone. He was also a 35-year Air Force veteran who dedicated his life to his country. He was simply the best. We need more research around finding a cure for this disease. When my dad was diagnosed, the doctor told him that there is no treatment and no cure—zero hope of surviving. That is something that I don’t want anyone else to have to hear. Please sign up for ALS advocacy—it would mean the world.

Framed black and white abstract art print by Colleen Williamson in a design reminiscent of a leaf.
Photo courtesy of Colleen Williamson.

AJ: What brings you joy?

CW: My faith, my family, my friends—and of course, my pups.

Thanks, Colleen! Her products are available for purchase at kiscoprintshop.com. You can also follow her on Instagram. The artist is also on Minted.

This interview has been edited slightly for clarity.

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