Lois Landford Art

By on December 3, 2011

Lois Langford Mural

Lois Langford Mural

Another “ROCK” Your Own World Story

By Sibyl White –

Lois Langford Art

http://www.loislangford-art.com

Murals, art on furniture, custom art, color and fabric matching, portraits of pets,people on canvas, monograms, and borders

 

Lois Langford has over 25 years of experience as an artist. Her artwork includes: nursery and children’s room murals ofcountryside scenes, beaches, and Winnie the Pooh; custom painted kids’furniture with sports team logos, zoo animals, the aquatic world, and flowers; and, adult artwork ranging from traditional to contemporary, such as her mural depicting a shopping mall interior.

Lois explains, “I create special rooms and pieces of furniture to match any wish a client may have.” Celebrities like Kim Basinger, Michael Jackson, Priscilla Presley, and Arnold Schwarzneggerhave either used Lois Langford’s services or bought her toy boxes. Her work has been show cased in People Magazine and on The Wayne Brady Show, as well as in numerous international publications.

What did you do before you went freelance, and how did you make that transition?

I was an elementary school art teacher in LA Unified Schools. I wasn’t a full art teacher, just an aide. They cut out art and PE from the schools, so they hired aides who had talent. I was hired as an aide so that the students could get something in the way of art education. I made these fabulous set designs for Christmas pageants like nine-foot nutcrackers and had to use the crummiest supplies, but I could make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear.

I have a twin brother who’s a meteorologist and was working in Venezuela. He came home to the States, saw what I was doing at the school, and he said, “They own all this beautiful work, and you’re not getting paid much for this. You should work for yourself.” So he pounded the pavement and went to children’s stores and toy stores asking if I could put some products in their stores—art painted on kids’ furniture.

One of them turned out to be a goldmine—a gratis mural. Lewis of London was the big and hot baby store at the time. I did a mural at night for free and left business cards out on the store’s front counter. A Dutch rock star, Patty Brard, was expecting her first baby, saw my work, and became my first paying client and a mouthpiece for me.

Toy Chest, painted by Lois Landford

Toy Chest, painted by Lois Landford

I took a class in illustration to jazz up my presentation, and there was someone there whose best friend owned Bellini children’s store. I ended up doing a toychest for them, and it walked out of the store in half an hour. I did another, and it was gone the next day. I never advertised; sales girls were paid to repmy work, and I was with Bellini for 20 years. I did all their custom painting.


Did you write a business plan?

No, work and get your first bite—think of it as going fishing and getting your first nibble.


What was your biggest challenge in the start-up phase?

Believing in myself. I was scared to get out there, suiting up and showing up—I felt likea fraud. But art speaks for itself; a picture is worth a thousand words. I would show them the work, keep my word, do the work in a timely manner, and do it for a fair price.

What advantages do you have over your competition?

For me, it’s keeping my word. Some have come and gone, and I’m still here.

How do you market yourself today?

I’ve tried a listing on a website; but, it’s way too competitive, and I will not work for minimum wage. Word of mouth works; I have lots of repeat clients. Right now I’m doing some work for Marc Platt Productions. I’m pursuing Facebook; I’m a bit of a dinosaur with technology. I do a lot of fellowshipping and networking.

Are there any inspiring stories from customers or clients that you can share?

I’ve had some great customers, and lots of them end with hugs and kisses. Kim Basinger is gorgeous, darling, and creative herself. I get to know the families pretty well.

I do a sketch to scale, and because they are sometimes afraid of something bold on their walls, I assure my clients that they are the art directors. You tell me what you want—give me samples, color photos, anything to show me so we see the same vision. I do two sketches, and that’s usually all I need to do. For one family I painted a cupola twenty feet up and nine feet across. I didn’t want to sit up there mixing paint, so I did a study board that the client purchased as well. It was framed by the framer of the Norton Simon Museum in Pasadena, CA. The client hung the framed study board in one of her other homes.

I was standing on a ladder painting a wall for another family, and their four-year-old daughter came in and said, “It’s not nice to color on people’s walls.” I told her that her mommy wanted me to. After I was done, we painted my ladder together.

I also incorporate clients’ dogs and other family pets into the murals. I had this woman whose dog died while she was out of town, and she was so happy she had the mural with her dog in it.

Are there any future goals you can discuss?

Higher end is where I’m at with custom work. I’ve sold a painting for $3,000 and havehad tons of commissions. I’m doing more in-studio projects and getting selective with the murals I take on. I pick and choose more now and don’t hang from ceilings as much. I will pass on work to other artists; I like to pay it forward.

Is there anything you want to add to your story or that would help others in the start-up phase?

Anyone who wants to start a business needs chutzpah-(nerve). I believe I have a God-given talent; I think there’s a certain calling you have. I was insecure in the early days, but something kept leading me through. I had high integrity, met deadlines, didn’t overcharge, and kept my word. I’m organized, very fair, and I have call-back customers that are wonderful. I’ve never been unpaid, as I have a tight contract. Attorney friends of mine look over my contract as needed, especially when I run into a situation with a client. I added clauses over the years arising from challenging experiences to help make the contract as airtight and fair as possible for all parties.

Resources that helped Lois:

· I stay abreast of art shows and networking.

· My husband is a big resource for me. He’s the main breadwinner and handles our taxes; we save and set aside for them.

· Keeping on top of my skills, reinvesting in myself, and staying physically fit for what I do is very important.

Lois’ favorite quote:

“Keep your word. Keep your name clean; it’s the only real thing you have in this world.”

—Dorothy Barnett (Lois’ mother)

Sibyl White has worked for large corporations such as Mary Kay Cosmetics; Walt Disney Studios including Hollywood Pictures; and DreamWorks Studios. She also spent 12 years working for small startup companies including a small businesses incubator. Her experience lies in human resources, media & public relations, marketing & promotions and office management. She has seen the best and worst of both large and small companies and hopes now to take that knowledge and help others follow their own unique path. She now lives near Nashville, Tennessee with her dysfunctional adopted dog, Lexie. She spends her free time as a volunteer at a therapeutic riding program for disabled children. She would also like to start a program for kids in foster care and help them find and follow their passion in life.

About Sibyl White

Sibyl White has worked for large corporations such as Mary Kay Cosmetics; Walt Disney Studios including Hollywood Pictures; and DreamWorks Studios. She also spent 12 years working for small startup companies including a small businesses incubator. Her experience lies in human resources, media & public relations, marketing & promotions and office management. She has seen the best and worst of both large and small companies and hopes now to take that knowledge and help others follow their own unique path. She now lives near Nashville, Tennessee with her dysfunctional adopted dog, Lexie. She spends her free time as a volunteer at a therapeutic riding program for disabled children. She would also like to start a program for kids in foster care and help them find and follow their passion in life.

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Lois Landford Art