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Conversations with the Inspiring Bree Deverill

Today we’d like to introduce you to Bree Deverill.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Bree. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
Hello gorgeous sun-kissed Valley! I am a mixed-medium artist, a maker, a wife and a mom to two canine babies. I am born and raised in Singapore. Growing up, I am happiest when I create. I excelled in various forms of art. So naturally, I went on to a private arts college and it was really going against the grain. My parents weren’t thrilled so I made a compromised and majored in interior and environmental design.  My grades were good even though my heart was with the arts and soon after graduation, I worked as an interior designer thinking that someday art will find its way back. Being young and driven, I thought working hard was the only way up the ranks. My artistic dream eventually faded into fuzzy memories and it didn’t take long before I burnt out and looked for a different pursuit. In 2002, I took a bold leap and went to work in hospitality. It was an enormous step away from being a creative but thinking back now, this career change was an important detour I was meant to take. I traveled extensively filling my heart with adventures.

Then, in 2005, a cruise ship job opportunity came about! My first ship, Dawn Princess, was where I met my husband (so the loveboat theory really works). It was so meant to be. Eventually, we decided to retire our sea legs and I immigrated to Kauai in 2008. I went back to climbing the hospitality ladder not giving too much time to art. After 8 years of swaying palm trees and deep blue ocean views, we  traded the island life for the saguaros and canyon views in Arizona. The valley welcomed us right away! It immediately felt like home and we planted roots very quickly. It was November 2018 when I picked up a piece of scrap wood left from our remodeled kitchen.  I grabbed an ink marker and started doodling on it and before I know it, the creative ‘purge’ began. Our new desert surroundings quietly rekindled my creativity and introduced a circle of awesome friends.

Today, I am so grateful at how my artistic journey is taking shape in the valley. I give thanks to the career move I made years ago because it allowed me to blend adventures, people, culture and places into a library of inspirations I have draw from. It’s crazy to recollect and recognize that this newly discovered art chapter started less than a year ago. I already have completed a few solo exhibits, sold original artwork to new collectors and have participated at local art shows. I am continuously humbled by the love and support from the valley! My dreams are coming true little my little and you are all a part of it.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
My art journey was not smooth. I just learned to surf the waves and I still ride some waves but I’m better at reading the current now.

One of the biggest struggle was finding my voice. The voice that tells me who I should be was muffled a long time ago. My sister and I are 2nd generations Chinese Singaporean. To a certain cultural extend, we were not raised to push boundaries, to believe in dreams and to pursue them. I was expected to get study hard, respect my elders and do what’s practical to make a steady living. Artist was a lousy occupation choice. So my struggle was about denying my true self. How do I find my style and who will take my art seriously? As it turned out, it is the many working years in corporate America that gave me the skills I need to build an art brand. I now have more knowledge and confident to achieve success as an art-preneur.

My biggest advice for young, creative women who are just starting their journey is that you are given this life to create. Do not despair over failures, failures are just feedback. For many of us who have to support ourselves financially, you may have to shift gears to meet current needs but always keep your ‘WHY’ loud and proud. Just do one thing every day that contributes to your vision. It could be reading, doodling or attending a business law class. Life have detours, use them to your benefit. Take the ride but remember who you are because there is a lot of power in honoring yourself! That power will lead the way when the time is right. Also, don’t get caught up with the label as artist, maker, painter… no one is judging you BUT you.

Here is a quote I love very much “When you can’t go forward, and you can’t go backward, and you can’t stay where you are without killing off something deep and vital in yourself, you are on the edge of creation.” – Sue Monk Kidd .

Please tell us more about your artwork, what you are currently focused on and most proud of. What sets you apart from others?
I am best known for original, one-of-a-kind, monochromatic ink art on wood. Other collections include ocean inspired resin art and alcohol ink collage on wood. My creativity is fueled by animals, nature, and travel.

I am most proud of the fact that all of my artwork are freehand, organic formations. This style works for me because my current spiritual focus to practice trust and being present. The freehand art process is all about mindfulness and trusting myself. There is nothing more satisfying when my creations bring joy to people because I went with the flow.

What sets me apart is certainly the spiritual surrender when I ‘purge’. My goal is to keep producing unique and interesting art that a new and veteran art collectors can appreciate.

What do you feel are the biggest barriers today to female leadership, in your industry or generally?
I think the term ‘starving artist’ is a barrier. I am not saying that this is the biggest barrier but it exists and is certainly a common barrier. There is a stereotyped perception that an artist must pay their due as a starving artist before they make it big. It is a barrier for both female and male emerging artist.

This thinking is antiquated. Remember that if you want to make a living as an art-preneur, you must respect Art as a business. There is nothing wrong in making money in exchange for your creative services. I believe that Art has so much opportunity, it is a diverse community, it sees no age, no background and no nationality! The beauty of our present reality is that you can start at any stage even without an art gallery representation. Brick and mortar galleries still bring considerable value to your brand but do not ignore the lively world of global social media audience whom may never discover you simply because you are too exclusive. So cast aside the ‘starving artist’ characterization, let’s think big and launch yourself into the world. There is a place for you, there is a place for your art.

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