“I want to make art pieces that make people feel happy and comfortable with, so that they have this really cool piece that feels like a part of them, and I’m happy with, and they feel like it speaks to them,” sophomore Kate Voss said.
Voss is the creator of a small art business called Merάki art. “Jean jackets, that’s the big thing that I’m trying to start, murals, art commissions like small paintings that if I get asked to do I totally would,” Voss said. “Anything artsy”.
She created Merάki art this past summer, after painting jean jackets with personal designs for three seniors in the baritone section of the Titan Pride Marching Band.
“I wanted to do more than just sit around this summer. I figured if I were going to be painting and drawing and spending a lot of time doing art this summer, why not try to make some money off of it,” Voss said.
Voss said she used the seniors last year as inspiration.“ I had made some going away presents for friends who were seniors last year, and came up with the idea of painted denim jackets and I thought that was very personal, something that wouldn’t sit on a shelf and collect dust, that they could wear and be proud of and would just look really cool,” Voss said.
Voss was also commissioned to do a mural for Spanish teacher, Wayne Marble, at his Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Dojo in Blue Springs.
“Kate would be drawing during my class last year and I would see her. Most people I would tell to put their work away and pay attention, but it actually seemed to help her focus better, and her grades were always good in my class. When I would walk by her and see her art, it was amazing,” Marble said.
“I don’t really remember how the conversation of her drawing at the dojo came up, but when it did, I thought that it could be really cool. She said that she would be interested in doing it and we set up some time in the summer for her to do it,” Marble said.
Voss puts lots of time into the details of each piece.“That one took me about 25 hours. I finished it over the course of a week, just kept driving out there and working for 8 hours at a time,” Voss said.
Marble had given Voss some images to start. “At first she found a picture on the internet that she thought would be good to use, but it turned out that it was of a friend of mine Roberto ‘Cyborg’ Abreu. I would never live it down if Cyborg found out that I had a mural of him on my wall, so we needed to change that. I really wanted it to be more of my own students and/or myself anyway,” Marble said.
Voss said she attributes part of her success to support from her family. “My mom helped me lots. She drove me out so that I could paint the mural, and everybody in my family gives me feedback and my friends give me feedback,” Voss said.
Voss has always been creative. “From the time she was little, we would buy her art supplies she wanted and signed her up for classes at the Nelson and classes at Got Art,” Erin Voss, Voss’s mom, said. On the business side of things, Voss’s parents said they have tried to be encouraging and coach her on the items of running a business, like supply costs and time management.
“My dad helped to see if the name Merάci arts was taken anywhere in the state of Missouri and Kansas so that I could officially get a licence with a parent,” Voss said.
There is more than a name that go into creating a business.“I think that she has learned that as much as she loves art, there are many other factors to consider when trying to turn it into a business,” Erin Voss said. “How will you sell items, do you want them sold in store or online? How do you get word out? How do you price an item to make sure you won’t lose money? Do you take custom orders? How do you make sure you get paid? I think that she is learning a lot about the business world and dealing with people.”
Voss said she isn’t sure where this experience will take her. “ I don’t think it will take off like crazy. I kinda hope it doesn’t. I want it to get some small, good, positive stuff. I want it to be out there and alot of interest to be there but I don’t want there to be a lot of people to be asking to make custom orders and think that they are going to get one quickly,” Voss said.
“I hope it will help her decide if she wants to choose a career that incorporates her artistic interests or if she would rather have it as a side business or hobby. I am impressed with her desire to create her brand and do something she loves. I hope it helps her have the courage to embrace risks and pursue her passions through her life,” Erin Voss said.
Voss is learning as an artist, and apart of that is patience. “I think having the patience to work through all the challenges and small detailings is one of the hardest parts, ‘cause if you’re sitting there in front of a wall kneeling for 7 hours painting, it’s easy to let your mind wander off and not stay focused,” Voss said.
Voss said she aspires to grow her business in the next year. “I hoping to see lots of interest and growth in the business people just wanting to get like, a small mural in their room, or a little painting of flowers,” Voss said. “It’s going to be a busy school year for sure.”