Meet Innovative Woman Victoria Schweizer artist and philanthropist.
How and why did you start your business?
I began painting again after 9-11 as a way to deal with post traumatic stress disorder. At first I was painting contemporary pieces and then started to do portraits of my friends on things like birthday cards for them. Once they told me how much they enjoyed them I started painting bigger and bigger portraits of musicians and film icons. When initially asked to donate a painting to a silent auction I thought this person was crazy. “Who would pay more than fifty bucks for this?” and it ended up raising over $1200 for the charity. I’ve been donating paintings worldwide now for the last 15 years and it’s been incredibly rewarding.
What has been your biggest challenge and how did you overcome it?
As an artist we are told early on by our parents that going into the arts is challenging and not a very lucrative career for a lot of people that decide to enter this arena. After 30 years of working hard for other people I finally had the courage and belief in myself that I could paint for a living. At first it was an uphill battle and marketing wasn’t the easiest thing to do but taking classes and learning more about how to get my artwork in front of more people I found it to be a fun challenge. I would set weekly goals and try to surpass them each week even if just by a little bit.
How do you define SUCCESS?
When you wake up in the morning and hop out of bed with a smile knowing what is on your agenda for the day is the definition of success to me. I get to do what I truly love and in the process I get to help so many people by giving a lot of artwork away to many different charities.
If there was one thing you wish you knew before you began, what would that be?
In the beginning I always thought to myself that my artwork wasn’t of any value and just something that I enjoyed doing. To me there was always a personal value that I added knowing the amount of time it took me to complete a piece but I never thought of my artwork as something people would pay for. It’s a common hurdle that many artists have to get over and I wish I had cleared that hurdle earlier on.
What makes you an innovative woman?
With my involvement in so many different types of charitable organizations I try to encourage everyone I meet to give their time instead of just a monetary donation. It’s a great way to meet new friends while also obtaining a wonderful sense of accomplishment. Meeting the people that are benefiting from you efforts is so heartwarming and some of the fondest memories I have to this day.