“I came across an advertisement for a drywall compound and discovered there were so many creative ways to create my textured art with it and be profitable”
This is art you can touch!
Emelie Levesque recently started her business Pass the Lines with the idea of creating paintings that aren’t just to look at.
“It is handmade textured art, stimulating the sense of touch for anyone with visual impairments and sensory issues. This allows them to fully enjoy the artwork,” explains Lévesque.
The 17-year-old Algonquin Catholic High School student says the idea stemmed from his own love of art.
“When I was little, I always wanted to touch art in the museums and galleries I went to, but obviously I was not allowed to,” she says. “I realized that I probably wasn’t the only one doing this and so I always wanted this concept of being able to allow people to touch my art.”
Levesque says she’s always had a creative mind and has done her own drawings, paintings and photographs, but she says, “I knew that if I was going to start a business, I wanted it to be something that everyone everyone can appreciate and something that very close to me personally.
Levesque says doing her art helps her with some of her challenges.
“I have a learning disability; I suffer from dyslexia and have dysfunctions of eye muscles and visual perception. Doing this kind of work really helps me think about new art concepts and I just want to keep sharing that with the public and the community.
Levesque did not consider selling his paintings until a presentation was arranged in his high school marketing class by Rebecca Foisey, program coordinator at Business Center Nipissing Parry Sound.
“She presented on the Summer Company program and she was very inspiring and articulate. That’s when I decided I was going to try to start my business,” says Levesque.
“I submitted my proposal and some background information and the next day she interviewed me and I was accepted.”
Levesque says the Summer Company engaged a handful of young entrepreneurs in 12 hours of workshops that she says were key to getting started.
“These helped me understand things like how to deliberate my posts, research and market your business, and also gave us different websites and tools to use to reach audiences,” says Levesque.
“The $1500 seed money was also a big help, and it was so amazing how well coordinated it was to help young entrepreneurs.”
Levesque says that to make her business profitable, she had to think differently about how she would create her paintings.
“I was using acrylic paints which can be quite expensive and wouldn’t be fully textured,” she says. “I came across an advertisement for a drywall compound and discovered there were so many creative ways to create my textured art with it and be profitable.”
Levesque says creating his pieces is a five-day process, but effective at that.
“It’s about an hour for each piece, but there are different processes that take time for everything to come together,” she says.
“Day one, I’ll use drywall. On the second and third day I will then layer it with a primer. On the fourth day, I apply the paint and finish with a varnish on the fifth day.
Lévesque says this process allows him to work on several pieces at once.
“It’s the best way to do everything and not stress when approaching a pop-up fair or a market day. It also gives me time to work on my social media pages (Instagram, TikTok and Facebook) or research new techniques,” she says.
Lévesque says it was a joy to be able to sell his pieces to the public.
“When I did my pop-up shop at Northgate Shopping Center people came up to my table and said ‘are we actually allowed to touch this? ” and I said, ‘yes please go ahead!’ It made me really happy to see people going through this and feeling the different textures. It warms my heart so much that people enjoy my product,” she says.
Levesque will be selling her textured paints in person at the Sturgeon Falls Market on July 23 (this Saturday) and says it’s something she plans to continue doing beyond the summer months.
“I think being a young entrepreneur is pretty amazing and very unique. Throughout the summer, I will be operating my business at various artisan and farmer’s markets in the area, and then in September, I will continue to run my business online. »
She adds that for other young people who have an idea and want to start a business, the best advice is to do as much background research as possible and seek advice and assistance.
“Do your research, come up with a plan, have someone review it, then submit it to a program like Summer Company,” she says.
“They’re an amazing, friendly, positive group to work with. If you have an idea and want to make it happen, go for it. I never imagined I’d be running a business just four months ago, I was looking for a part-time job, until I saw Rebecca’s presentation and decided to go for it.