Today we’d like to introduce you to Mia Cross.
Mia, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
I graduated from Boston University in 2014 with a double major in painting and sculpture. After a year of living in Boston working retail jobs and then as a display artist, I decided to start applying to art residencies.
I received my first art residency in upstate New York in the spring of 2015 and simultaneously chose to move home to Framingham and refocus my attention towards my studio practice and paying off my student loans.
I was commuting in to work for an artist in Brookline while developing my portfolio at home, growing my art community, applying to shows, basically applying to whatever opportunity I could find that fit my work!
After about a year and a half of commuting into the city, I was fortunate enough to receive a Blanche E. Colman Grant to support my practice. I was also receiving enough commission work that I decided to make the transition to creating art full-time.
Over the past two years, I have been laying my roots in the Boston art scene and participating in residencies at least once a year. I am a member of Fountain Street Gallery in Boston and also recently moved into a shared studio at 450 Harrison Ave in SoWa.
Mostly, I display my oil paintings in exhibitions throughout New England but I have also had several opportunities to stretch out a bit and create murals. Most recently I had the amazing chance to create a public mural on the Rose Kennedy Greenway called “We the People II”.
We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
A smooth road would be boring I think… there have to be at least a couple of pebbles! Certainly, the constant flow of rejections in your inbox is something to get used to. And although I felt technically prepared by my school to make art I wasn’t ready on the business side of things.
I had to teach myself nearly everything about running my art practice as a business. When I graduated I was so clueless about what to do next I bought books whose titles read” How to be an Artist”.
Fortunately, both in school and out of school, I have met a lot of wonderful people along the way and I’ve learned something from all of them. I quickly discovered there is no ‘right’ road that an artist should take, and everyone’s story is different.
If you want to get your work out there as an artist today, there are a lot of hats to wear. To name a few, you need your entrepreneur hat, social media hat, art delivery hat, writing hat, business managing hat, oh ya and your art-making hat (perhaps working at that hat shop after graduating prepared me for something after all).
And, financial security is hard to come by as a self-employed artist- although that certainly keeps a fire under your rear and teaches you to be inventive!
So let’s switch gears a bit and go into the X Studios by Mia Cross story. Tell us more about the business.
I am an artist who specializes in oil painting. Although I make sculptural work, I have found it is much easier to exhibit and schlep (and store) paintings (recently)! I think what sets me apart in the Boston scene is that I create a lot of figurative work.
It feels that locally there are more artists working in abstraction or even in landscape. My work is heavily focused on drawing, color theory, and narrative. I am always drawn back to depicting faces.
I suppose I am most proud that I have started to establish myself in the Boston art scene whilst being young. And also that I am able to support myself through art making.
Has luck played a meaningful role in your life and business?
I am lucky to come from an extremely encouraging family who supports my dreams. And I am lucky to live in a country where I can access resources and carve out this path for myself. Luck is a funny word though.
Even unlucky situations can later lead you to “lucky” ones. Every person that I’ve met along the way has somehow shaped my journey and I am grateful to have met them. I think staying open to opportunities, being persistent, and making yourself visible inevitably (hopefully) increases your luck.
- Address: 450 Harrison Ave Studio 202 Boston, MA
- Website: www.miacross.com
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: miaxart