Alumni and Friends

Teil Duncan

Teil Duncan

I can trace back a love for art at a very early age. As soon as my high school teacher affirmed any bit of skill I possessed, I decided to run with it to Auburn University. There, I completed my Bachelor of Arts with an emphasis in painting. Looking back, I walked into the Art Department thinking I knew all there was to know at age eighteen. This was where the growing pains took place, as my professors stretched me in relearning the basic fundamentals of shape, line, color, composition, intellectual concept, reference to the “masters”, scale, value, technique, cultural relevance...etc. I went through periods of utter frustration and confusion, questioning “am I even an artist?” “Is this painting by any standards 'good'?”. I continually compared myself to other artists, which discouraged me, but also highly impacted me.

After graduating, I moved to Charleston, SC. As a post-graduate entering into a devastated economic workforce, what was a twenty-two year old art graduate to do? Wait tables. I juggled working at a restaurant, changing diapers at a preschool, and taking commission paintings on the side. After one year of multitasking, I came across a few local artists in town- all young women- who were not only working as full-time painters, but getting national publicity in renowned publications for their work. At that moment, I called my parents and told them I was quitting my jobs and putting all of my effort into painting full-time. I concluded that I would live off of income from commission work in supplication with a small loan, and spent the rest of my time simply completing paintings that I felt compelled to do. After about a year-and-a-half of many destroyed paintings but enough successful pieces to survive, my artistic career was completely sustainable.

As more time passed, my artistic path was successful, but I still felt an urge to work at a faster pace. I had joined a few local galleries and gained more experience in that realm, however it didn't seem to be the most lucrative avenue for providing a fulltime living. Had it not been for the extra commission work, my income would not have sufficed due to the 50% cut that most galleries rightfully keep for selling work. This is when I decided to enter the online market. I learned from other business-minded artists around me tap into popular online publications as means of exposure. I also switched to water-base paint. This allowed me to thrive from quicker drying time and fearlessness of working with less costly materials. From there, a new body of work was born and introduced to a wider audience. As I noticed more traffic to my site, I altered it to enable visitors to purchase work directly from my shop. Since these changes have been made, my artistic career has soared! The more exposure I receive, the more doors open! I have been featured on Glitter Guide, One King's Lane, Design Love Fest, VSCO Journal, Charleston Magazine, Charlie Magazine, and many more. The encouraging response has brought an exciting new wave of motivation to create better work. I couldn't be more thankful. I hope this business model can kill the notion of “the starving artist” and promote creativity for much more than a hobby.

Last Updated: February 22, 2016