We got the honor to interview a young, creative artist based in our own city, Asheville, NC. She is the sole owner and operator of her online store Brain Candy Ink, living life to the fullest as her brand continues to thrive. Read further to get an inside scoop on how she’s made a living from her art.
Who is Kristen Pestrichelli?
I’m a 26 year old silkscreen artist currently living in Asheville and running and online apparel store.
What does a normal day being the sole owner and operator of Brain Candy Ink consist of?
Most days, my work day starts right when i wake up – answering customer messages, packaging and shipping orders as quickly as possible. After that i have the flexibility to work on other projects such as printing shirts, photographing new listings, and working on new designs. I am also currently building my new website and working on a wholesale catalog.
What inspired you to start brain candy? Where’d the name come from?
It was an organic process that unofficially started almost 6 years ago when I learned to silkscreen while studying illustration and printmaking at Rhode Island School of Design. I instantly fell in love with the medium and saw the huge potential in being able to reproduce an illustration over and over. I was hugely into the music/festival scene and would often make shirts or prints to hustle around campsites and outside of shows to fund my adventures – About 2 years later i officially started Brain Candy Ink – the name is a play on eye candy, but with a slightly psychedelic twist.
How would you explain your art process of creating?
I usually work in pen and ink on paper because it translates so perfectly to silkscreen, and i really love the graphic nature of the medium. Most of my drawings start with a super basic sketch and get filled in with whatever details I’m feeling at the moment – i don’t plan much after the initial sketch/concept. Once i complete my drawing on paper, i scan it into photoshop where i clean and finish it digitally and begin the screen burning process. I have a full silkscreen studio which allows me to do the entire process start to finish.
How is it to be both an artist and entrepreneur? What are the positives and negatives?
My brain definitely works like an artist, which allows me to be super creative but also can make it challenging to manage myself and stay organized. I don’t enjoy the tedious tasks like keeping track of my inventory and figuring out taxes, but the fact that i get to be creative all day and make my own hours makes all of that totally worth it!
How do you get the word out about your brand the most?
Social media, specifically instagram, has definitely been the most helpful tool for spreading the the word out an connect with people. I get to show off my work while connecting with awesome people all over the world. Word of mouth has been really helpful as well, thanks to my amazing customers and their recommendations.
What are your favorite things to do outside of BCI?
Hiking, going to see live music, spending time with my incredible friends and boyfriend, and generally exploring the amazing city i live in!
How do you want to inspire the world with your gift?
I hope that my artwork inspires people to explore their creativity, but most of all, i hope i can show at least one aspiring artist to that you don’t have to be a “starving artist” and you can make a living off your artwork if its truly what you want. Also, if i can run a business than ANYONE can. i didn’t study business whatsoever, just developed a skill and learned the rest as i went along.
What do you think is extremely beneficial to making our world a better place?
I think that we collectively need to raise our level of consciousness in every aspect – but especially how our consumer lifestyle impacts the world and other people. Its imperative that we reduce our environmental impact as much as possible.
Do you have any words of advice?
Ambition is sexy. Skill will get you somewhere, but its your drive and motivation to put in the extreme work and hours that most of your peers won’t that will truly lead to success. I truly believe you can manifest anything through hard work, consistency, and patience.