Meet Shawna Fitzpatrick of Shawna Fitzpatrick Illustration + Street Photography
How I got started was I was born with a pencil in my left hand and a paintbrush in my right hand. Not literally, but could you imagine seeing that in a hospital delivery room? All jaws would drop. Seriously, I was born an artist. I have loved drawing since I was a little girl. Like many children, my list of “I want to be x, y, z, when I grow up” was never-ending. However, becoming an artist always remained on that list. That and wanting to become an entertainer like Michael Jackson.
Fast forward some years, and decades. I know that I am where I am today due to dedication and determination. I use to be very shy and insecure. That was until I learned that I am in control of my destiny. If I want to become something, then I have to go out and get it.
Oh man, my road was not and still is not a smooth and easy road. By high school, my moonwalking dreams had faded away, and all I wanted to do was to create art. By senior year of high school, the stress was really put on me. Not to make it any better, I lacked a support system for my dreams of becoming an artist.
Even my school guidance counselors gave me the cold shoulder for my career choice. Devastated and discouraged, I did not attend college for about one year after high school. Instead, I got a part-time job as a cashier.
Feeling sick to the stomach for not going after what I knew I wanted to do, I enrolled into a local community college to study Computer Animation. However, that only lasted one semester before I was re-directed by my parents to take up a “trade” instead. Then, “I can always make money”, they advised. So, I attended and graduated from Cosmetology/Barbering school three years later. I passed the State Board Exam and became a licensed Cosmetologist. I practiced cosmetology and barbering for eight years professionally. Although cosmetology and barbering is a creative job field, it was not for me, so I joined the military.
What a jump that was, I know you’re thinking. I joined the military not only to serve my country, but to also get away from my parents views and opinion on how I should live my life. It wasn’t until then, when I finally got my “freedom”, so to speak when I could see myself clearly. I AM AN ARTIST. I had been blindly putting the true me, the artist, on the back burner for years to satisfy other expectations of my life and the art industry. I then began to take becoming a professional artist seriously. I began teaching myself the tools and techniques of the game.
I stayed in the library or book stores and watched hours of YouTube how-to tutorials. I purchased my first DSLR camera and began to snap photos like crazy. I would attend events and try out the new videography techniques I had just learned. Soon, word started to spread about my talent and love for art and photography. I was asked by my boss at the time if I was willing to create some company photos. With my anxiety boiling over, I still said yes.
As years went by, I continued to self-educate myself on photography, videography, illustration, graphic design, and whatever else that caught my attention. It has been a long bumpy road with finding myself and understanding who I am, self-doubt, and confidence in my work. To this day, I still fight with imposture syndrome. However, I refuse to allow it to win. I will continue to push forward and grow stronger, both personally and professionally.
I am willing to call myself and my company of one, a Jack-of-all-Trades/Master of None, and we are not shamed of it. A lot of people look down and judge the “jack-of-all-trades”, and say that you should only focus on one thing. I say that is a bunch of bull. Do what you love doing. I love urban/street photography and illustration. I “like” other mediums, but my love are those two things. Illustration and Street photography are my specialities. Those and cooking, but we aren’t here to talk about that.
I am split between two audiences. I have an audience that knows me for my Pop Art type illustrations, and I have an audience that knows me for my street photography. What I am most proud of as a company is “we”, I survived. I did not give up on my dream. The child in me survived. I have heard of so many artists giving up on their dream because they could not push through the outside noise, or their self-doubt got the best of them. I too, was lost for a while, but I managed to find myself through it all.
What sets me apart from others, other than the fact that I am the most amazing person you will ever meet *haha*, is that I am very versatile. I live outside of the box. I’ve made paintings with raw coffee grounds. Come on! You don’t see that every day.
I personally define success as something you feel most proud of. It’s all a feeling within you. How do “you” feel about it? I recently participated in my first public art showcase/exhibition. Although, I did not come close to making enough profit to break-even that night, it was still a success for me. Some might say that this is a loss, (…look at your debt to income ratio crazy lady). Yes, I put in a lot more money than I had made back, but I felt great! I was grateful for being presented the opportunity to show my work to the general public.
If I was to tell you my business bucket list, we would be here all day, night, week, month, century. But, since I have your attention for a little time, the next markers I’m marching towards are to be featured on Oprah Winfrey’s Super Soul Sunday Podcast lol, but for real, I have a photography book in the works; to produce some large scale murals; connect with more amazing artist’s and creatives; and we will see whatever else unfolds in the future.