Motherhood and food are just some of the inspiration for this artist
It all started at Camp Creek Elementary with a basket of fruit.
As little Danielle Faircloth sat at her art desk scribbling away at the apples and oranges on her canvas, her third-grade art teacher came up to her and said, “Now you have some real talent.” The teacher took the drawing to Faircloth’s homeroom teacher and announced, “This is the best art student I think I’ve ever had.”
“I don’t think I’ll ever forget that,” Faircloth recalls with a smile.
Of course, Faircloth had always had a knack for art. Her artwork decorated her parents’ fridge. After visiting Disney World’s behind-the-scenes exhibition of Lilo and Stitch, she filled an entire sketchbook with replicas of the characters she’d watched the artists craft over and over.
“I saw the book not too long ago, and I have to say,” Faircloth admits, “it was really good.”
At Parkview Highschool in Lilburn, Georgia, Faircloth was the only girl in her architecture class. Throughout school, doodles encompassed the pages of her notebooks, a pencil always stuck to her hand. Faircloth was never not drawing.
And she still isn’t. Her artwork is still decorating space, only this time, it’s not just her parents’ fridge.
The owner of Danielle Faircloth Art, a self-run art business out of a studio in Mobile, Faircloth is a full-time artist now, selling her pieces anywhere from $50 to $1,000 across the United States and Canada. She has 10,200 followers on Instagram, has been re-pinned on Pinterest more times than she can count and has her own website for people to buy pieces, offer commissions or book an “art party.”But the Auburn University graduate didn’t always have “artist” titling her resume. In fact, if you’d asked Faircloth when she walked the Hayley Concourse if her future career involved a paint brush and a pencil, she’d probably have told you no.
“Never, ever, ever,” Faircloth says. “I actually took a test in high school, and it told me I was meant to be a truck driver.”
Yet, since third grade, Faircloth knew she wanted to do something in design or art. So, following her older brother Jason, she went to Auburn University and pursued Apparel Merchandising, Design and Production Management with a dream of moving to New York City. While at Auburn, Faircloth enjoyed lunches at Amsterdam Cafe munching on a turkey roll-up or Au Bon Pain’s macaroni and cheese, though she could never go wrong with a flatbread from the Village. Saturdays she spent watching Cam Newton bring Auburn football to national spotlight and was always the last to leave the field.
“I think anyone that went to Auburn during this time can agree that being in Jordan-Hare back then was the best time in history,” she says.
Through Auburn, Faircloth was one of six students chosen for a six-month internship in New York City to work Design Week. But after three months, Faircloth knew she and New York didn’t have a future together.
“I took too much for granted. I once went to the grocery store to get all my food for the week and realized I had no way of getting it back to my apartment,” she says. “And my boss at the time was really hard on me. I felt like I was in the movie The Devil Wears Prada. I knew I wanted to be back in the South.”
The southern girl soon found her way to Mobile and took a job as a marketing director of two Urgent Care locations. While working in Foley, Faircloth grew close to the women working the Mobile Chamber of Commerce – close enough to learn that when the Chamber’s Event Director position opened up, she took it immediately.
“Let’s just say, networking, networking, networking,” Faircloth says. “It truly pays to have those connections.”
As Events Director, the responsibilities never abated. Faircloth oversaw five major events and handled the financials, social media and marketing for each, including the Gulf Coast Hot Air Balloon Festival. But even with an assistant and two interns, the weight on her shoulders seemed to grow heavier.
“I eventually had to leave simply because the job required my attention 24-7, or at least that’s what it felt like. And I knew my family needed me,” Faircloth says. “I also was really ready to work for myself.”
In September 2016, Faircloth began turning her passion into a career. Yet becoming a full-time artist is no walk in the park. From generating ideas to branding and marketing herself to gaining a following to selling her pieces, Faircloth keeps herself busy.
From multi-color nude prints to pastel water colors of Winnie the Pooh to abstracts on paper, to her most recent collection, Spring Fever – a pastel abstraction of acrylic, oil, charcoal and other mixed materials on canvas – she maneuvers anywhere between 20 to 50 commissions at any given time, with a turnaround of three to four months. She hosts art shows and art classes throughout Alabama every month, from Fairhope to Auburn University.
A full-time artist and mother to a spunky almost-five-year-old named Brenton and a one-year-old named Jack, Faircloth knows what busy means. Juggling the two, Faircloth owes it to her faith in the Lord, her boys and her husband, Raymond.
“Anyone that says they are a stay-at-home-mom – they are the real deal and God Bless them,” Faircloth says. “I used to laugh at people like that, and now I have total respect and realize what a task that is.”
Though an unexpected dream turned reality, Faircloth’s art career continues to grow. On top of other projects, Faircloth’s newest one is a Navy collection for her new series, and her Spring Fever series is already selling out.“When I think I can’t do all this, I realize I have so much and so much to be thankful for,” she says. They are my rock, my clutch, and by far my biggest supporters I could ever ask for.
For those like Faircloth looking to make a career out of a passion, Faircloth’s advice is simple.
“Don’t allow other people to put you down or think you shouldn’t,” she says. “Make connections, think outside the box and remember to have fun with what you’re doing. If you aren’t loving your job, it isn’t what you’re meant to do.”
“Make connections, think outside the box and remember to have fun with what you’re doing.”