“I’m wired to want the best, for myself, for my family, for my customers.”
Meet GirlCrew Galway member and owner of Beechmount Art Studio and ‘PaINTCLUB’, Aisling Burke
GirlCrew is all about meeting new people and having fun, and from the sounds of things Aisling Burke’s PaINTCLUB is the perfect place to do just that. Like many artists, this GirlCrew Galway girl began honing her craft in college, studying Fine Art down in Limerick. From there she began teaching night classes with was then the Galway VEC, “…while attempting to ‘make it’ as full time artist.” Unfortunately, creativity doesn’t always pay so she took a ‘real’ job. Thankfully for the people of Galway, it didn’t stick so after nine years of juggling the job and teaching evening art classes she began to revaluate her situation.
“I remember at one stage when I was about 8 months pregnant with my daughter, working 9-5 Monday to Friday and teaching 4 nights a week. It was crazy. After my son was born, I had had enough, I didn’t want the 9-5 life anymore and I didn’t want to waste my degree…so I decided to open my own art studio and Beechmount Art Studio was born.” This was a big jump but one that paid off – “opening your own business is scary, it was a big risk but I knew it felt right…in the two years since we’ve opened our team has grown to six, we’ve won numerous awards and are a market leader in art education and leisure industry.” With the business growing Aisling decided to expand and set up PaINTCLUB, “…the basic premise is that you come along, paint with step by step instruction, have a few drinks and at the end of the night have a gorgeous finished painting to bring home. To see 25+ finished paintings at the end of the night, that [people have] painted themselves, it really is something special.”
Currently, the event is held every couple of weeks in Galway city and it is always a sell-out event. But Aisling says, “I’m not surprised. When we’re having a good night, and there are 25+ brave, adventurous souls there to try something they’ve never done before, or don’t think they’ll be very good at, the atmosphere is electric.” This sounds like the perfect GirlCrew night out, and we can’t wait for it to spread further afield.
1. What is the best thing about your role?
The variety of my job, I could be teaching a class of retired ladies in the morning, hosting a Life Drawing Hen party that afternoon and hosting a PaINTCLUB for 25+ people that night! That’s a lot of people with a lot of paint!
2. What did you find most challenging about it?
The unsociable hours. While I wouldn’t go back to a regular 9-5, I do work very irregular hours and most evenings/nights which makes it very hard to meet up with friends or even to do a yoga class.
3. What is your proudest work related achievement to date?
Winning a SCCUL award in January 2016. We won the Arts, Tourism & Sport category and as part of that we had to pitch my business to Dragon Den’s Gavin Duffy and a 7 member panel. It was completely out of my comfort zone as I don’t have a business background but it meant so much as a creative business to be recognised by business leaders especially as the competition from traditional industries was so fierce. The creative economy is growing at a huge rate and I feel we need more varied and ambitious creative businesses in order to show the traditional sectors that it is possible to have successful businesses in our sector.
4. What would be your one tip to others who want to get involved in this industry?
Find out who’s doing it right and ask questions. If you see a company you admire, do your research, get in touch and ask them questions. Any good company will be willing to help, just make sure you are prepared with relevant questions and don’t waste their time.
5. What would be your motto in life, and in work?
Go Big or Go Home. I’ve always been that way, I’m wired to want the best, for myself, for my family, for my customers. Don’t tell me it can’t be done, when I started telling people I was going to teach 25 people how to paint a full painting in 2 ½ hours while there was alcohol involved, everyone told me I was crazy. I was told no one would pay to do that, well here we are one year later expanding, employing more artists, bringing the PaINTCLUB experience to more people. I give it 100% every time and that’s all you can do.
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