PATRICIA GRANNUM is a creative out-of-the box thinker at heart. She wears many hats: writing, editing, drawing, illustrating, painting (digital & traditional), designing/creating indigenous jewelry!
If she had to choose, she’d say jewelry is her greatest love right now.
“A lot of people don’t really think of fiction writing as ‘art’, but to me it is. I enjoy that too.”
When asked what is her favorite piece of writing, jewelry, editing or illustration this was her response:
“Ahhh! I can never choose and will never choose. That’s like asking a mother to pick a favourite child!” she laughs.
The discovery of her love for art and creating
Patricia first realized she loved creating as a primary school pupil. Having been born into an uber creative family, it was only natural for her to pursue a creative career since she was always surrounded by creativity and people who are passionate about creating.
In her younger years, Patricia watched in admiration as her grandmother created clothing, silk flowers, bookshelves, cabinets, baking etc. Now 80+ (years young), she is always in the midst of some creative project like gardening and home improvement, but naturally her overdrive comes in smaller doses.
She shares that her mother also enjoys making things. Growing up Patricia witnessed her mom making items like paper crafts and photo frames. She now expresses her artistic side via baking and sewing most of her clothes.
Patricia says she admires her granny and mom the most for their strength. “I’m trying to get to their level of emotional resilience!’
The artist is influenced by a lot of female ‘artrepreneurs’, especially those who have been running their businesses for a long time.
“It gives me hope that I can do the same. She is also influenced the most by her customers and potential customers …
For me, coming up with product ideas is a dance between my ideas and what my instincts/research tell me they’ll like… Sometimes I get it right; sometimes I don’t, but there’s always something new to learn.”
Her thoughts on the entrepreneurship journey thus far
Patricia admits that growing a business has its ups and downs, but she has no regrets about leaving full-time employment.
“I always felt like something was missing from my life when I couldn’t work on my art and now I have the ability to do so every day!”
Each day, I learn something new about myself through what I create. I feel like I’m always defying the limitations previously placed on myself. So the journey has benefitted me tremendously in terms of personal growth.
I started Colour Riot Jewelry in 2013, yet I still don’t consider myself a full-fledged entrepreneur since I’m still learning the ropes of being self-employed. I still hold a part-time job as I’ve learnt that owning a business can be tumultuous.
Personally, I need some security of a steady paycheck to ensure that I can pay my bills independently. It allows me to feel more confident (and less anxious) about making creative decisions with regard to my business ventures, knowing that I’m not depending on them for all of my income.
I do look forward to the day when I can live solely from my business income (and spend all my days on a beach with a laptop lol) but I’m not quite there yet.”
Biggest joys/rewards/downside (requires full quotes!)
“With my jewelry, I LOVE to see people wearing what I’ve made. I love when they say how much they enjoy the pieces …
It’s the same thing with art and writing. When someone says I wrote or painted something that moved them emotionally, I get giddy lol. It makes it worth it …
Prizes are nice, but I do this because I want to share the joy of my unique brand of creativity with others. My work being featured in a US fashion editorial was nice I have to admit!
The downside is the income security challenges mentioned earlier, but I’ve learnt to deal with the anxiety that comes with that.”
Her most exciting project to date
Working on expanding her brand of Colour Riot Jewelry has been the project which she says pushed her the most out of her comfort zone.
“I’ve had to organize multiple photo-shoots, collaborate with fashion designers, reach out to boutiques to get them to carry the pieces, reach out to press for coverage, sell at markets and other events throughout Trinidad, the Caribbean and more. All the while, creating. every. piece!
It’s a lot of work, but it has helped me to gain invaluable insights and skills. Currently, for my art business I’m working on a coloring book and I’m learning A LOT about self-publishing. That’s been very exciting!”
Her professional background
In ‘another life’ while employed at her full time job, Patrica worked at Caribbean Ideas Ltd as a Content Manager and later Product Manager. The positions were centered around social media marketing, online publishing and some of the business aspects of app development.
The most exciting people she has met, or would like to meet (living or dead … hypothetically)
The most exciting people the artist has met to-date are designers Meiling and Robert Young of The Cloth.
“They are both people I look up to; not only for their longevity in the business, but for the clarity of their artistic expression through clothing.”
If she had the option of meeting a legend (that is no longer with us), she said it would be Frida Kahlo.
“She went through a lot of personal suffering but poured it all into her art. She created masterpieces out of the things that were supposed to break her and I find that really inspiring. She also had a pretty wild life, from what I’ve read. Imagine the stories she’d tell! The conversation would be amazing!”
“When I’m sitting in front of a blank page, I always draw a large scribble before I start an illustration…
That helps me get rid of the intimidation you can feel when you’re getting ready to make something anew. And it’s a good warm up for my hand!”
Patricia follows a lot of artists on social media and she says seeing others creating, provides the motivation and impetus to continue to create.
She says her biggest supporters and the reason for following her passion is attributed to the people who raised her: her mother, grandmother and grandfather.
- A Naparima Girls’ High School alum, CXC art was among the subjects Patricia pursued. She later studied Journalism at Carleton University, Canada where she received a university scholarship to help fund her studies.
- A self-taught jewelry maker and mostly self-taught illustrator, she learnt much of her drawing skills from the 3-hour fashion illustration classes she took at the Caribbean Academy of Fashion and Design.
- Her brand Colour Riot was featured in Florida based magazine Boca and an online editorial for another US based fashion magazine Lucy’s.
- Patricia was one of the 2015 winners of a short story competition held by the Bocas Lit Fest, where she won a coaching session w/ Clare Alexander, UK based literary agent & former editor at Macmillan Publishers.
- She is currently working on a colouring book featuring her work inspired by Caribbean folklore; mythologies from other parts of the world, fairytales and surrealism and whatever pops into her brain!
- Patricia also happens to be the designer & editor of my 2nd book (a memoir of my professional journey towards my dreams): How To Find Yourself & Claim What’s Yours and who I like to refer to as my book coach! 😉
Recommendations to assist the creative/SME sector
- More support/training for the management of online businesses,
- Online payment logistics can be a nightmare sometimes, especially if you have to liaise between a payment processor like PayPal and your local bank.
“A couple of years ago, I went to the bank to sort out payments I hadn’t received and one of the tellers did not know that you could be paid through PayPal. So I believe more education and investment into that would be a great help.”
Further thoughts from Pat
Patricia holds a BA in Journalism which she admits may seem weird to some, given all the talk about loving to make things and the fact that she’s not working in a newsroom today. However, the artist says that the degree helped to hone her writing and editing skills which she continues to use.
Her creative designs can be viewed on IG @ artbypg
Her writing can be viewed via her blog: Patricia Writes Her Stuff
Creative Patricia Grannum shares the ONE thing she’d like to accomplish before leaving this earth:
“I just want to continue to make art that resonates with people. It’s what I love.”
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