Updated: Dec 3, 2020
This month’s featured woman entrepreneur is: Melissa LeGresley – www.influitiveart.com
Today we talk to an amazing woman that I have the honor of calling my friend. She is a person who, like most of us, wears many hats. She is a mother of 2, an entrepreneur, an artist, a healer, AND has a corporate day job. Her story is a wonderful adventure of following one’s intuition, discovering a passion, and sharing it with the world.
In her own words…
Tell us a little bit about yourself, who you are, about your family, and where you are from.
My name is Melissa, I’m from the small friendly community of Grande-Digue, and although I moved out the morning after my prom (for real!), I’ve built my life back there 7 years ago now. The forest/ocean just kept calling me back and it truly feels like home.
I’m the mother of two amazing teenagers, which I have half the time (shared custody), and I have an amazing parter, with whom I have more fun than should be legal in a relationship with, and have a tremendous amount of support and love/respect from.
What does your day look like?
Well, I do have a corporate day job, which I now do only 4 days/week (yay!), and my dream is to get down to 3 days/week in the next year or two. “Office job” days, I wake up, go to work, make/have dinner with family, then if it’s a kid week, work on homework and spend time with my kids. If it’s a non/kid week, I often tuck myself in my studio after dinner to work on my pieces, or work on the product pictures or my website.
When it’s my “art day” (Tuesdays or weekends), well, I have a schedule packed of things I want to accomplish! I usually prep for a few hours the evening prior (prime boards, level items, tape off the back, etc), so I can get right to it on “art day”. I wake up (on art day) and meditate, putting intention in the crystals/stones I plan on using that day, cleanse my studio with sage, turn on some “good vibe” tunes, and disappear in the glorious (but NOT glamorous!) moment of creation. This goes anywhere from making art or homewares, or finishing jewelry.
I’m often working on more than one piece in a day, as many have a few steps which require time in-between. When I need to step away from the smell of resin (YUP! it smells, and I wear a mask, worry not! Safety first!), I head to my kitchen table to cut out jewelry and pick/place the crystals/stones in those (the jewelry). That can take from an hour to a whole day. I’ve seen myself get absolutely absorbed and create for 14 hours in a row! oops… I try to have reasonable “bent forward time” as it’s hard on the back when done for long periods at a time!…
How did you discover this artform?
It’s such a random story actually! My office job did a callout for artists for a group project, and I was a face/body painter (did that for 8 years now), so after a little coaxing from co-workers, I figured why not.
We were 7 artists of different backgrounds to make ONE large acrylic paint canvas together, and I FELL IN LOVE! The textures, the colour blending, the flow of it all, and the unexpected final results… I needed more… So I asked my family to give me art supplies or gift certificates to buy some for holidays or any gift giving occasion, and that’s where it started.
No more than a few months later, I was creating on canvas, and having WAY more fun than I could have ever expected, and I learned a LOT. Being self-taught, I would stay up many late nights watching tutorials, or testing out techniques and color combos, trying to find my “style”. I am still flowing in what I prefer, am a bit more “all over the map” than some (oops! Must be my gemini/squirrel personality! hehe), but I focus mostly on abstract acrylic, resin, and alcohol ink art at the moment.
Can you tell us a little about your art?
My pieces are “art infused with intention”. I almost always add crystals and gemstones to my pieces of art/jewelry (not homewares YET), and before each session, I set an intention, so the piece has that intention in it. I am a believer that the artist’s energy remains in the piece, and that specific colours/crystals emphasize its high vibration. Therefore it’s healing through art, although the looker/buyer is probably unaware of it!
I have an energy therapy background (Reiki, Therapeutic Touch, Quantum Touch, etc), so I’m happy I get to apply some of this intuitive healing knowledge I’ve always had, to my canvases and other creations. I’m guided through the whole process, and feel the receiver will get exactly what they need. I love texture, uniqueness, authenticity, and for my pieces to be one of a kind.
I want each of my pieces to be special for their own reasons, independently. It’s like telling a story through emotion, visual perception, and interpretation. Each person sometimes has a different story for the same piece! But everyone wants to touch it, which I encourage (gently)! 😉
What is your favourite part of the process?
OMG, that’s hard to answer… I can easily say finishing (sanding the back/sides) is NOT my favourite part! lol. Posting online is time consuming also and not a favourite of mine. But the creation itself, the “main” part, is my favourite, in all it’s steps, as it’s somewhat unpredictable and very fun!
Adding the crystals/stones is definitely a favourite part of mine too (art or jewelry), as that’s usually one of the last steps, and I can really see the end product, and I often find myself literally squealing in excitement (as it doesn’t look anything like the first step did)!
When did you know that you wanted to pursue this as more than a passion?
I’ve been artistic my whole life, and really enjoyed face/body painting. But that work was mostly weekends, and took too much time away from my family. When I started working on canvas (from home!), it seemed like the perfect solution. I could work on it whenever I wanted, without leaving my home, and I absolutely loved every second of it.
It still started out as a hobby. I was still a single mom with a tight budget at the time, so my “investment” in this new art form was limited. I would get excited and share my art on social media, and people wanted to buy it! I DID need to pay for my products, so… why not, right?!? That’s how it all started… But when I got together with my life partner, things changed in many ways for me, all for the better.
For the first time ever in my life (after he moved in), I could finally invest more in my passion, and really give it a go! The same month he moved in, I created my official business name and social media pages, and it’s absolutely exploded since. From art, to jewelry created with up-cycled paint runoff, to homewares and resin art, and just recently pop up phone holders. And who knows what’s next! (Did I mention squirrel?!?)! But the seed has been planted, and there’s tons of fertilizer apparently (I learn from my mistakes! lol). So I’m growing fast in the direction of light and passion!
How did you get to where you are today?
I started by just posting my creations on social media, and most sold right away. I then decided to try a few markets/events, and had really great feedback, and a decent amount of purchases. I decided less than a year after selling my first piece that I seriously wanted to make this a “REAL” side business, not just a paying hobby.
So April of 2018 I had my business name and launched my facebook and instagram pages, and less than a year later (end of Feb 2019), I’ve launched my website. I’m also testing the waters and making my way into local stores and galleries. I’m still figuring out where to put/sell my pieces in the end, but enjoying the process of creating and growing very much.
It’s all trial and error/success, right? Seems there’s an opportunity at every corner, I just have to pick a direction (and that’s not my forté), so I’m trying different branches for the future of Influitive Art to see where it grows best! 🙂
Melissa, thank you so much for taking the time to share your beautiful story with us. I have seen and touched your artwork. I can honestly say that each piece is full of love and healing. Every item is unique and brings a sense of joy and peace. I can’t wait to see where this goes from here. You are an amazing person, woman, mom and friend. Keep growing and keep sharing with the world.
I encourage everyone to go check-out Melissa LeGresley’s website at : www.influitiveart.com.
Yours in health, happiness and success, Nancy Gould