Quarantine hobby springs into business endeavor
WED.| 02-17-21 | FEATURES
A quarantine-fueled hobby turned senior Caroline Blandford into an artist with a mural at locally famous restaurant Sup Dogs of Chapel Hill. Blandford has always been considered creative and talented by her peers, but when COVID-19 came in March, she decided to take up canvas painting.
It started with Blandford making simple things such as gifts for friends and room decor, but Blandford started to become more well-known through her business account on Instagram and began taking on more challenging works of art.
For her first big piece of art, to ring in the new year Blandford was given the opportunity to paint a canvas to be hung in locally famous restaurant Sup Dogs of Greenville. Shortly following, Blandford was able to score a gig to paint a mural that will be seen by those from all over North Carolina at Sup Dogs of Chapel Hill, her first of potentially many to come for popular spots across North Carolina.
“I actually Instagram messaged the Sup Dogs of Greenville first to see if they would let me do a canvas painting for them,” Blandford said. “After I finished and shared that painting with Sup Dogs of Greenville, the owner reached out to me and asked if I would be interested in painting a wall in the Chapel Hill
Picture contributed by Caroline Blandford
Blandford believes that what works the best for her is reaching out to large influencers and businesses within the area, asking them if she could paint something for their business. By doing this, she is able to get her name out there without having to rely on people coming to her, and asking for commission painting requests. She had spent many hours prior to this request painting for members of the community around Rose and Greenville, but had never taken on a work as large as the mural in Chapel Hill. Before traveling to Chapel Hill, Blandford had messaged with the owner briefly about ideas and sketches for what to put on the wall, but the main vision was to have something colorful and unique featured in their restaurant.
“I spent two days, for a total of 18 hours painting the mural in Chapel Hill,” Blandford said. “It was very time-consuming and challenging as it was the first time I had actually painted something on this scale, and even the owner of the restaurant asked if I regretted it halfway through, but in the end it was an experience I will never forget.”
Something of this scale takes detailed planning and sketching. Although Blandford had no regrets for her work at Sup Dogs, she feels that it will be a while before she accepts another large-scale painting like the mural in Chapel Hill.
Social media is another big part of how she is able to effectively advertise her works. She uses Instagram and occasionally Facebook to sell her paintings and take painting requests. Blandford charges $65 for a normal sized 12x14 inch canvas, and prices go upwards depending on the size of the canvas after that. Although Blandford is able to paint most things requested by her followers, she does not accept every painting asked, as it is not just the business aspect of it that she enjoys, but the personal aspect as well.
“Painting is time to myself, time to think about things, and it is really just something I enjoy doing often,” Blandford said. “I have my own style of painting, and sometimes I will not paint certain things because they do not fit my personal style, like portraits, because I don’t know what features people do and do not like about themselves.”
Blandford plans to continue her painting career in college, as she will enter East Carolina University this fall minoring in art. She doesn't know what the future holds, but sees painting in her long-term future, and hopes to start painting her specific designs on people’s walls instead of the typical wallpaper. Blandford’s work has not gone unnoticed, and will continue with her painting career