We had the good fortune of connecting with Terry Taft and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Terry, what role has risk played in your life or career?
Risk has played such an important role in the process of starting my own small business. Like a lot of young people, I was working a full time customer service job and in school full time for a few years. At the beginning of this year, I decided I needed to take the risk to reduce my hours in customer service to allow more time to create art and product for my business. This was a scary transition because its consequence was a bit of financial stress. One thing I’ve learned through this process is that creating quality product and running a business requires time and constant upkeep. Taking the first steps to launch a project from passion to job is risky but can be extremely rewarding.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I work in multiple different mediums. Mainly I use oil paints and digital design. Most of the art in my store is digital design, although I have oil prints available too. The process of becoming an artist is extremely tricky. I fought with learning new skills and finding my artistic voice for years. Finally, I feel comfortable with where I am in my art career but it still is not easy. My biggest challenge recently has been the process of putting a price on design. This is something every creative who takes the steps to make a career for themselves struggles with. Knowing your worth and being confident in the value of your work can be quite a challenge. I think something I would want people to know about my art is that the isolating and difficult part of my life that I have lived through now act as the subject matter for my pieces. My rocky past has become stepping stones to a passionate future. This is possible for everyone, and a huge personal goal is to express this process through my art.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Asheville, North Carolina is full of interesting places to go! I would obviously start by getting coffee. My favorite spot has been Riverside Highfive. This unique coffeeshop is right on the bank of a river with picnic tables and chairs along the water. Downtown Asheville also has some must-sees like Downtown books and news, a huge antique book store. Ware is a small business focused on curating suitable home products, and I love shopping their regularly changing selection. Dobra Tea is also a unique store to grab a drink from downtown. To round out a trip to Asheville, I would also go to Craggy Gardens for a sunset picnic or hike Black Balsam to see a higher view of the mountains!
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
At the end of 2020, I read a book that completely shifted my view on how I spend my time. “All About Love” by Bell Hooks discusses the importance of time. I had been giving all of my time to jobs, school, and other people. Her quote “The way we work in this society leaves individuals with little time when they are not physically and emotionally tired to work on the art of loving.” This helped me to realize that my priorities should be to further what I’m passionate about and allocate more time to growing things that are important to me. That has shown itself in my art, my business, and in my mental health.