Lesli Marshall grew up an athlete, not an artist. But after burning out on sports in high school, she tapped her creative side in college and fell in love with art.
It took her years to find her creative stride and says she’s still far from the best. However, she’s figured out the art of the sale and how to pitch herself for huge projects, murals and curation work and has found major success calling Facebook, Coachella, Tom Thumb, 7-Eleven and Virgin clients.
We recently sat down with the business savvy creative and founder of Articulation Art to learn about her starving artist days, rock bottom moments and how she’s now designing the life of her dreams. Listen to our Fridays with Flea Style podcast episode with her below -- and learn a few extra fun facts about this girlboss below!
Describe your business/job role in 300 words or less:
I'm the owner of Articulation Art, a full-service design and innovation firm. I started the company in 2007 in Dallas, Texas. Our clients range from hotels, bars, restaurants, corporate offices and curated art programs. We work with property management groups to curate their art programs and love bringing in local artists and supporting the local community of creatives. I also run an Airbnb that is my family's farm in Llano, Texas. I was able to restore and preserve the property and now share it with others. It's one of my favorite projects to date. I'm working on two more in New Mexico and Colorado.
Favorite motto/quote/life advice:
"Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! Live the life you've imagined." by Henry David Thoreau. I also listen to a lot of Alan Watts to get my brain back on track when I lose sight of just how incredible life can be and the possibilities to create are endless.
What inspires you and your art?
Inspiration comes from everything for me: people I meet, the places I travel. My art and creativity is something that I want to evoke joy and happiness or silliness. There is so much negativity around us every day... I want what I do to make people feel good in the space they are in or bring a smile to their face when they see it.
Did you always see yourself as an artist and think this would be the life you pursued?
I knew that I wanted to do something creative. I wasn't sure what that was. I am a self-taught mixed media artist but ended up taking every art class I could in school. I love designing spaces, creating giant installations and hope to do more set design.
If you didn’t do your current job, what would you be doing and why?
I would be a chef. I love to cook! I love to use fresh ingredients, I love turning on the perfect song while chopping and sautéing. I love the smells and sounds in the kitchen. The best part is making food for the people I love. It is a way for me to show my gratitude and it is very creative for me. I want a giant garden and to have dinner parties with people of all backgrounds getting together and collaborating.
You're a big Flea Style shopper and love to collect. What's your favorite find ever?
I found hand-crafted Italian boots made from deerskin and feathers that are nearly 50-years old and in great condition for $6 and I had the soles remade. In almost all of my projects and artwork, I use found objects. I get a rush when I am sourcing. I call it "the thrill of the hunt." I can't get enough...
Describe your picture-perfect day off:
Wake up early, grab my pups, get my favorite dirty chai tea and drive to the lake with my hammock and book in hand. If I have more time, I just keep driving and head down to my farmhouse. There is a peace that I have never felt when I arrive there... it makes me emotional. I can't explain it, but every time I go there I just feel like everything is in the right place.
Current playlist or radio station on repeat?
I love music and it always depends on my mood. Some days I put Kanye Black Skinhead on repeat on my way to a project to get pumped up. Other days I want to belt out Celine Dion. Today I am typing this listening to Leisure, Cigarettes after Sex and Billie Eilish. I have a giant vinyl collection and you will find mostly classic rock and old country. I love it all.
If money was no object, what would you splurge on for yourself?
Traveling! Next destinations on my list include: Ireland, Italy and Iceland. I don't have a need for nice, material things. I can't anyway, I always mess them up or get them covered in paint. I shop at Goodwill and Ross. I love finding the unique items no one else wants.
You paint a ton of murals. What's something that would surprise our readers about that process?
It's very physical and mental. You have a battle going on because the process takes time and it's hard for me to allow people to see it before it's finished and that's how it goes with murals. I have learned to enjoy the process more, but at first it was very difficult for me.
If you could score a mentor session with anybody for an hour, who would you want to sit down with and why?
Alive would be Gary Vaynerchuk. I listen to him everyday and read his books; he would be great to help me pin-point which direction to focus on next. Dead would be Henry David Thoreau. He and I would probably run off into the woods and never come back!
Don’t miss Lesli’s podcast. It’s so good! Check it out along with other Fridays with Flea Style episodes on iTunes here. Want to nominate somebody to be a guest on our show or have a question for Brittany to answer? Email us at email@example.com!