Today we’d like to introduce you to Mamie Jay Atkins.
Hi Mamie, thanks for sharing your story with us. To start, maybe you can tell our readers some of your backstories.
My journey to art literally started with dark depression and the urge to commit suicide. I had been in a cycle of dysfunctional habits that reinforced the planted soulish seeds that I am unworthy of love, that I am broken and beyond fixable, I am unlovable and my existence is pointless.
After enduring the years of childhood sexual abuse, rejection, and abandonment, I couldn’t reprogram my soul to see light in any type of tunnel. In 2017, someone saw my torment and offered to invite me to one of her art therapy sessions. I laughed at first because I informed Ms. Hopkins that I was not artistic and had no kind of gifts or talents. Her response to me was “Just trust me, Mamie”.
So that following week, I had the session, and the very moment I placed the paint on the canvas, something broke within me and I fell to the floor sobbing. I couldn’t even explain to her, I just know that I couldn’t stop crying. As I kneeled on the floor with my face in my hands, I could hear her voice from behind and the words that came across my shoulders said “God is doing something deep in your heart.
You have spent your whole life trying to make sense of your pain, but as you begin to paint from this moment forward, you will learn how to not try to force it to make sense. When you paint, let it flow from your heart and don’t worry about what comes out because God will show how He can take something that you view as ugly and make it beautiful, just like He plans on making your life’s journey beautiful”.
From that day forward, I taught myself how to paint! I went on youtube and watched hundreds of YouTube videos, and I read books on painting techniques. That day unveiled the artist that had always been there within me, I just never noticed her because I was so consumed with the dark seasons of my life. I now make jewelry, write poetry, published a book, and paint!
My husband is an amazing woodworker, and the two of us always dreamed of opening up a creative space to share our gifts with the community. We now have an art gallery boutique in City Market where locals and tourists can come shop and explore. It is called Eccentric Studio One Art Gallery & Boutique.
I also offer art therapy sessions for those who have had a traumatic past as well as group painting sessions called “Painting with a Purpose” where I lead the guest through a soulish painting session designed to paint what the soul looks like! Each guest leaves with a different painting on their canvas because no one’s soul is the same.
Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way? Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
It has truly been a learning curve. There have been a lot of bumps in the road to learning how to unfold the business side of art. One thing I can say is that regardless of the mountains we’ve had to climb, it has all been worth it.
As you know, we’re big fans of you and your work. For our readers who might not be as familiar what can you tell them about what you do?
What sets me apart from others is that I am an eccentric flow of creative art. I do not fit in anyone’s category of themed artwork, meaning I paint or create whatever comes to me.
One day, I may feel led to paint something abstract, and the next day I may feel the flow of creating realism. I am constantly looking for ways to evolve and develop. I am most proud of the fact that I am able to help others creatively heal through art therapy and group sessions.
I have three master’s degrees and a doctorate, however, I am most excited about my certificate in art therapy!
My life’s purpose as an artist and a maker is to help my community, to share TRUE love and light without societal barriers. My heart is for the world, and I will live each day finding ways to share love and kindness in every aspect of my journey.
Any advice for finding a mentor or networking in general?
Finding a mentor has been one of those hurtful avenues to travel down. I have found that more people have a mentality to gatekeep and not share information. That was a hurtful realization since I am one that is an open book and desires to help anyone advance in their life.
So, hearing people say “no” to me when I asked for advice, help, or assistance in certain directions and aspects of figuring out the business realm was discouraging. What I can share is that God always had a ram in the bush. Anytime a person would tell me no, somehow another person would randomly appear in my life to help me with the exact issues that I needed to iron out at the time.
So, for me, it has been a lesson to learn to flow and receive as the few helpful people emerge. I believe that everyone’s journey is already preset to connect with the correct people, places, and things. We get hurt when we attempt to help God by reaching out to the wrong people, going to the wrong places, and obtaining the wrong things.
My advice is for someone to realize that “what” and “who” is for us, will be for us. Let the knowledge, grace, and light flow, don’t try to force it because that is when we end up messing things up or causing unnecessary heartache and confusion. Just flow!
- The art therapy session is an hour and a half and costs $100 which covers the materials, the session, and a special gift bag.
- Painting with a Purpose, group sessions, costs $40 per person and covers refreshments, painting materials, and the “painting of the soul’ session. The time is up to three hours.
- Website: www.eccentricstudio1.com
- Instagram: @eccentric_studio_one
- Facebook: Eccentric Studio One
D. Paul Graham of imageGRAHAM