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Meet Annalie Olson of Face Painters Ink in Mesa

Today we’d like to introduce you to Annalie Olson.

Annalie, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
I grew up in a family of artists, surrounded by all of the art supplies I could dream of. As the only child in my house, I spent most of my time drawing and painting. I had the idea to start face painting and hopefully make a little extra money, while I was still in high school and counting down the days until I was old enough to get a part-time job. I was only 13 at the time, so my parents helped me figure out how to get important things like insurance and permits taken care of. I ordered some professional face paints online, watched tons of YouTube tutorials, started practicing, and built a simple website. After just a few weeks, I was lucky enough to start booking small events like birthday parties and local fundraisers. My mom would drive me to every event, every weekend, and she ended up learning how to face paint too. As a team, we were able to start working at larger events like farmer’s markets and festivals, and that’s when I realized I might be able to keep on face painting, instead of looking for another job that would fit with my school schedule. It’s so cool to look back on old photos and see how much we’ve improved as painters since then and to think about how far the overall image of the business has come.

One of the goofiest things I did early on was choosing a picture of a Mandrill (a baboon-like monkey) for my first business cards. I thought it was funny because Mandrills are known for their bright red and blue faces, and it’s kind of like a natural face paint in the wild. But, hardly anyone got the joke, and people would always ask me why in the world I had a monkey on my business card. Luckily, I only ordered 500 monkey cards, and I came up with a more polished looking design for the second batch. I never really thought I could turn something art-related into a “real job”, but thanks to support from my parents and all of our awesome clients over the years, I’ve been able to build a successful small business and even put myself through college at ASU. Face painting is so much fun, and making people happy through art and self-expression is very rewarding. I’m so thankful that I have been able to work in a creative field for eight years and counting, participate in amazing events, and meet so many wonderful people and families. I have even been able to help a few friends start up their own face painting businesses, and I am always happy to be a first connection for anyone looking to get into the industry!

Has it been a smooth road?
Most face painters I know have experienced their fair share of failed events. It can be discouraging to pay a high booth fee, spend the week preparing, spend hours setting up your booth, and then just stand around all day, hoping to get a customer. I have participated in all kinds of events where I ended up at a loss because things didn’t go as planned. Sometimes, even the best events fail because of something beyond the organizers’ control, like last October’s record-breaking rainstorm. But, I’m happy to trade highs and lows for the freedom of being self-employed. And I always try my best to remember how lucky am I to have found success doing something I love in the first place.

So, as you know, we’re impressed with Face Painters Ink – tell our readers more, for example what you’re most proud of and what sets you apart from others.
We specialize in high-quality, professional face and body painting. We paint year-round and we love coming up with themed designs for every occasion, but of course, October is our favorite time of year! We love working with clients to create custom, detailed designs for Halloween and Día de los Muertos. I also love painting special requests like cartoon characters, logos, imaginary animals, superheroes and more. I know tons of incredibly talented face painters, but I do believe that my ability to quickly replicate a cartoon character or company logo sets me apart from a few other artists out there!

Every Saturday from early October through the end of April, we offer face painting at the Gilbert Farmer’s Market. 2019 will be our 6th year as vendors there! If you’re ever in the area and you’d like to stop by, you can find us under the rainbow umbrellas. For updates on other events throughout the year, please follow our social media!

Let’s touch on your thoughts about our city – what do you like the most and least?
I was born & raised in Phoenix, and there is so much to love about our city. My favorite thing about living here is being able to experience our unique landscapes and wildlife, our monsoon season, and of course, our sunsets. My only complaint is that face paint melts in our summer heat!


  • Individual designs at farmer’s markets and festivals: $5-$15 depending on level of detail
  • Hourly rate: $85-$125 per artist depending on the event

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Antonios Printezis – AZ Photo Video (photos 1 and 3). Myrna Wood Photography (photos 5, 6 and 7)

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