Ep.74: How to become a surf, skate and street artist with Fieldey

By Iva Mikles •  Updated: Dec 15, 2017 •  Interviews

Haylee “Fieldey” Fieldes is a Surf, Skate & Street Artist, originally from New Zealand, living and working in Perth, Western Australia and now on 1 year long road trip in South America 🙂

She studied graphic design in Sydney and in 2007 learned to surf and decided to custom-paint her first surfboard, launching her career as one of the best surf artists in the industry.

Since then she has painted hundreds of surfboards and skateboards, murals, bowling pins and a 2.4m remote-controlled jet boat. She has been commissioned to produce artwork by brands such as: Coca-Cola, Citroën, Iron Fist Clothing, Anytime Fitness and Seven Skates.

Her popular YouTube channel, Fieldey TV, has helped to make her a star in the surf, skate and street art scene and her unusual and cheeky wall murals are a popular fixture on the streets of Perth.

Get in touch with Fieldey

Key Takeaways

“If you don’t ask, you don’t get! Don’t be afraid to get “no” ”

Resources mentioned

💡 Please note: We are supported by our readers. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn a commission at no extra cost to you. Thank you! For more info, please read our disclosure.

Special thanks to Fieldey for joining me today. See you next time!

All artworks by Haylee Fieldes, used with permission

Episode Transcript

Announcer  

Creative, artistic, happy! That’s you. There are endless possibilities for living a creative life. So let’s inspire each other. Art Side of Life interviews with Iva.

Iva Mikles  

Hello, everyone, and welcome to the next episode of Art Side of Life where I chat with inspiring artists five days a week. My name is Iva, and my guest today is Haylee “Fieldey” Fieldes and we chatted about how she became a surf and street artist. And what’s important to do before you start working with a client.

Haylee Fieldes  

I actually went to my local surf shop and they advised me to call this guy who is called Josh from ocean line surfboard. And he just like he was so kind he talked me through everything told me the type of sandpaper to use the process for cleaning the boards and how to clear coat it so without that I think I would have been pretty lost.

Iva Mikles  

Feel these are surfskate and street artists originally from New Zealand living and working in Perth, Western Australia. And now on a year long road trip in South America. She studied graphic design in Sydney and in 2007 learn to surf and decided to custom paint her first surfboard. Launching her career is one of the best surf artists in the industry. Since then, she has painted hundreds of surfboards and skateboard murals, bowling beans, and 2.4 Remote Control jetboat her popular YouTube channel feel the TV has helped her to make her star in the Surf Skate and street art scene. And her unusual and cheeky wall funerals are popular fixture on the street of birth. So please welcome Hayley Fieldes, better known as Fieldy. And let’s get to the interview. So hello, and welcome everyone through the Art Side of Life. Please welcome my guest today is amazing fealty. Hi.

Haylee Fieldes  

Hi, everybody.

Iva Mikles  

Hello. And let’s start with your background. And I would like to know if you always knew that you wanted to be an artist.

Haylee Fieldes  

Yeah, definitely. I’ve been drawing ever since I can remember ever since I could probably hold a pencil. And when I was at school, art was always my favorite lesson. And I was always drawing. And so when I look back at some old report cards when I was like six or seven, the teachers wrote in them. Oh, yeah. Haley, my room name is going to be an artist.

Iva Mikles  

Oh, cool. And so what was maybe the first discussion that they had with your parents when you told them you want to take this professionally?

Haylee Fieldes  

Well, I actually when I was a teenager, I actually wanted to be either a veterinary nurse or a professional horse painter. Because I really loved Yeah, I really well, I still do. But I was a big horse nerd. And my parents had kind of always thought that I would go into that kind of thing. So they went they weren’t really worried or surprised or yeah, they it was kind of a natural progression.

Iva Mikles  

So how did you choose the school to go to when you were like?

Haylee Fieldes  

Well, actually, I didn’t actually study find out because when I was about 16, I kind of had a careers teacher who advised me pretty much that he used these words, but the gist was that I was gonna die poor and alone, if I tried to become an artist. So being 16 I thought money is good. So I actually studied graphic design instead. And I was a graphic designer for 10 years.

Iva Mikles  

Yeah. And so what fascinated you on the art would you create now and what was the transition from the graphic design to creation? What do you do now?

Haylee Fieldes  

Um, well, it was a bit of a long and windy road. I, I was as I said, I was a graphic designer for 10 years. And I was also a corporate graphic designer, which is just awful. And I’d made a little kind of forays into art, but I couldn’t find something that was a good fit for me. I didn’t really know what I wanted to do. So I kind of just gave up on my dreams of becoming an artist. And then it was actually I took up surfing. That’s how I got into art. So I bought my first surfboard and decided to paint it and looked it up on YouTube, how to how to paint a surfboard. And that was my very first sort of board and it started from there.

Iva Mikles  

I had it so cool. So but then how did you find out like what pains to use? Or was it also on the YouTube video because Like if I decide to paint the surfboard now, I don’t know what paints do is like what type kind of sticks to the board.

Haylee Fieldes  

Yeah, there was a bit of information out there, but it didn’t include anything like everything. So I actually went to my local surf shop and they advised me to call this guy who is called Josh motion line certified. And he just like he was so kind, he talked me through everything told me the type of sandpaper to use the process for cleaning the boards and how to clear coat it. So without that, I think I would have been pretty lost.

Iva Mikles  

Oh, so he also told you maybe what pains to use as well like, or like brand? Or how do you choose that?

Haylee Fieldes  

No, I went to my local graffiti art store. And I actually chose a cheap spray paint, which in hindsight was a bad idea. And I use three different types of paints, which was a bit of a no, no. And then the clear coat we put on top because I took it into the surf show, but to get it clear coded was something different altogether. So that’s four different types of paid. And when we clear coded it, the whole thing “beep” Oh, no. And I freaked out. So, you know, that was the jumping off point to investigations and to try to find the right paints and the right clear codes to get the right effect and not have any problems. Because obviously, if you’re going to serve it, you need it to be fairly heavy duty.

Iva Mikles  

Yeah. And I never tried surfing and for me to understand maybe is it like when you also have these pains on? Isn’t it more like slippery or do do something with the kind of the finish of it that it’s kind of like Hold’em?

Haylee Fieldes  

That’s a good question. For me. I’m not a good enough surfer for it to really matter what finish I put on it. Because I just surf because I love it because it’s fun. But you know, if you’re painting something for a, I don’t know, like a high profile performance of, then you might really have to consider that. I mean, some people say, Oh, no, it’s okay. If you just leave it just the bear spray paint, which has kind of a slightly grainy texture. And they’re like, oh, that actually works better. But I haven’t read anything really about what is the best, like, for instance, because you could use a gloss coat, which makes it really shiny and slippery. Or a matte coat. I haven’t read anything on what actually works better in the water. I think it’s more just personal preference.

Iva Mikles  

Yeah. And so how many servers do you have now? Like something what you painted? And you know, or do you have a one with your design?

Haylee Fieldes  

I have three surfboards of my own for actual surfing. And they all have one of my designs on them. And at one stage, my husband was getting really annoyed with me because we had to move house. And I had a supply of something like 14 surfboards a thought on them. So yeah, that was getting annoying to have to move 14 Answer forwards. But yeah, now our home I have three, just three. Thank God.

Iva Mikles  

That’s nice. And so when you’re creating your imaginary kind of worlds, or what is the inspiration? Or what is the main kind of point of, you know, stories, or how do you create your artworks?

Haylee Fieldes  

I think it really depends it, it depends if it’s for me it and if it’s something that I’m painting, it’s something that interests me, or that I find funny, I like to inject humor and bad puns into my work quite a lot. And I like to paint characters and people. If it’s a commission, obviously, it’s based around what the client wants. But very much I like to inject what interests me because if you’re not interested in what you’re painting, then it’s probably not going to be an awesome result.

Iva Mikles  

So what interests you then?

Haylee Fieldes  

Oh, everything I really love. Well, as I said, I really like things that are funny. I like things that are growth quite a lot. I like a lot of my styles, obviously, really heavily influenced by old school tattoo. Love pinup culture. But I also love plants a lot. So there’s a lot with a lot of greenery and plants and living things. Obviously everybody likes animals like animals too. Oh, I like really, like grow like really interested in things that are inside you. For instance, our organs and digestive systems and things like that and how this is entire hidden world that we never get to see which is actually a good thing. Because I’m not sure of the circumstances of which you get to see that. But I find all that kind of stuff really fascinating. Things that are ugly can also be beautiful, I guess.

Iva Mikles  

Yeah, kind of how you stylize and then he’s like the different transformation of these right?

Haylee Fieldes  

Yeah, I like stuff that looks pretty and then when you get closer to look at it, you’re like, oh, that’s less pretty than I thought it was. So having stuff in there that’s just a little bit creepy or gross? I’d like to Yeah, mix it up have that kind of balance.

Iva Mikles  

Yeah, definitely. So how, how would you advise young people would like to try? What do you do now? Or kind of where should they start? And maybe the tools you use now kind of to compare it and kind of advice?

Haylee Fieldes  

Well, I’ve talked to young people before about this kind of stuff about like, who people who are keen to become an artist. And I think I would also recommend studying something else. So for instance, for me, it was really helpful to have the graphic design background. Because that gave me some support in becoming an artist, because it doesn’t obviously just happen overnight. If you want to make a living off, it is kind of what I’m talking about here, as opposed to just painting and stuff like that. It doesn’t happen overnight, it took a couple of years to transition out of graphic design and into painting full time as a job. So, you know, in some ways, it might be really helpful to also study something as a kind of a supporting mural, that’s not necessarily completely divorced from art, because graphic design was not really the same, but it kind of it teaches you to learn to kind of think about things in a different way, how to present information, composition, color, and things like that, which can be quite helpful for art. And that’s, I think, I think the hardest part about becoming an artist is really, if you want to make a living off it is that making a living piece of the puzzle is really difficult. That would be my main point, I think.

Iva Mikles  

And so how did you find your new projects to work on when you were doing the transition? Or how to find the like paid project? Or the kind of the income? What do you need it?

Haylee Fieldes  

Yep, good question. Um, I spent six months opening my first surfboard, I spent six months just painting surfboards, I was still working as a designer then. And I would just painted I think 12 boards to kind of develop my style and to figure out what I want to say, because I also needed a body of work to show people what I do if, you know, if they wanted to commission something off me. So I just painted Yeah, a dozen boards. And then slowly progressed, and started to kind of figure out what I wanted to say how I wanted my work to look. And then after probably six to eight months, I got my first commission of a friend for some skate decks. And I because actually, it’s nothing about being a designer, it was actually very helpful. Because I was a designer, I knew how to market myself already. And I designed my website and made sure I had business cards and logo and stuff like that, and put that out there. And I think that really helped fast track things. Because after that skate deck, a guy on the other side of Australia saw me online and asked me to paint a bowling pin for him. And it kind of just started slowly from there. It wasn’t, it didn’t wasn’t really enough to live off for a couple of years, it was just kind of supplementing your income and kind of starting to make a name for yourself for a few years.

Iva Mikles  

Yeah. And so how did you decide to kind of position your branding? Like, what was your thinking when you were like doing the strategic positioning on the market?

Haylee Fieldes  

I think I would say it’s different now. Because in some ways what you want your business to be and what what it turns out to be or what you kind of have to tweak it when you find out more about what the what people were willing to buy. But to start with. I really just went all out and I want it to be something fun, and something that I would enjoy doing. So my positioning was custom surfboard up very cheeky and unusual and irreverent, but also very heavily focused on old school tattoo. So at the time no one was really doing that. So I kind of put two things together which is I studied, like surfboard old school surfboard spray jobs and stuff like that and integrated that with old school tattoo. And which I’d never really seen before and started doing started doing that. But when I sent them off to you know, I started approaching magazines and stuff like that. A lot of people were just like, This is really weird. Like they’re cool, but they kind of strange and I just don’t think it’s for us. Yeah, what? Yeah, what is

Iva Mikles  

the approach? What do you do when you do murals? Is it the same

Haylee Fieldes  

murals tend to be largely driven by what the client wants, you really don’t normally get to paint whatever you want. Because unlike a surfboard, which I can just go buy from the shop and pay whatever I want on it, the more it belongs to someone. And normally they’ve got some ideas of what they want on it. So originally, when I started painting murals, I was super psyched to have this massive canvas to paint really crazy stuff. But I found out pretty early on that that wasn’t going to wash because it’s in public, everyone can see it, and the wall belongs to someone else. And generally, you’re being paid to paint a wall. So a wall has to be a lot more subdued. If you’re going to put anything in there that’s kind of pushing boundaries or crazy or saying something it generally has to be a little bit under the radar. But yeah, generally with walls, I’ve been approached by a business or an individual and they will normally have some kind of idea of what they want, or even just a theme. So if it’s a Mexican restaurant, which I’ve done a few of it’s obviously it’s something relating to Mexico and I can give them some ideas of things that interests me personally. So one was a Frida Kahlo after I’ve done a couple of Frida Kahlo walls, and things like that. So I kind of steer them into directions, where it’s something, obviously that I want to paint and something that would be good at painting as well.

Iva Mikles  

Oh, that’s really cool. I would like I saw some of your murals, and they’re always like super colorful and fun. Do you have like a favorite project you worked on or something really memorable?

Haylee Fieldes  

I’m gonna need to think about that. Favorite project? Oh, yeah, I had a Amuro I think it was just the funniest one, I had a mural that I was painting in a part of Perth that has a high population of immigration. And I painted a It’s a shark. With forearm mermaid riding on it a big great white shark. It’s like two storeys tall. And in the background, I had like a ray pattern, like of just like sunrays coming out, and just as a quick way to kind of cover a background. And a guy walked up to me, a local guy. And he’s like, Oh, he’s like, Oh, nice mural. But I don’t like the background don’t like the rising sun in the background. This place used to be a really nice area before all these immigrants moved in. So these Japanese restaurants everywhere and like started carrying on really racist guy. And we were just kind of like, okay, so after he left, I got my really long ladder out and climbed up to the top. And the shark is kind of like jumping with his mouth open. So I painted three bits of sushi falling into the shark’s mouth, because the mirror had nothing to do with Japanese people or, or anything to do with that. But it actually made the mural is perfect.

Iva Mikles  

Yeah, it’s such a good inspiration that yeah, when you want to have some background story, and then you’re like, oh, I can actually I can use some of it.

Haylee Fieldes  

Yeah, it actually made the mural better.

Iva Mikles  

So it’s really cool. And what about like some projects you’re working on now or something upcoming you want to share in the future.

Haylee Fieldes  

I’m at the moment I’m traveling. So I’m actually in Colombia at the moment. And it’s been amazing I took with we, me and my husband, we’ve taken a year off. And we’ve been traveling all through South America, because I just felt at this stage I had a really well had probably still have, my business is going really well. But it was a lot of commissions. So I started to lose touch of what I wanted to paint and what direction I wanted to go in. So basically, we’ve just been we’ve been on the road for five months now. And we’ve just been like checking out our galleries in Latin America, so much amazing street art and colors and just absorbing all those influences. Had a few projects in Colombia and in Chile doing murals. And it’s been great because these have all been free murals. So I get a lot more say in what I want to paint. So it’s just about kind of getting back into doing art for the love of it again, and to grow as an artist instead of being kind of not first because it makes it sound terrible. But instead of instead of kind of feeling that you have to always work for other people and and do what they want you to do, which is a really good thing. And it’s a privilege to be able to make money out of it. But after a while you can find yourself painted into a corner, you know with

Iva Mikles  

because then the inspiration doesn’t come as easy as maybe when you started because it’s a different motivation and so,

Haylee Fieldes  

exactly. And it’s, it’s kind of like hey, can you pay a pretty go doing this and it’s just like, Uh huh. Pretty go number 250. Yeah, which is, which is still fun. And it was awesome to get so many commissions early on to help develop my to be what I was being paid to help develop my style, which was amazing, and a really privileged position to be in, but I kind of felt like now I’ve reached the stage where I know how I like to paint. But I think I need to stop pushing it further. So I needed to just take some time off to get some new inspiration and see the world and see what’s out there, you know, and then keep painting

Iva Mikles  

in. So if someone would also want to do like this year of travel, do you have some cool tips? Where do you kind of found out like what to do and maybe what not to do?

Haylee Fieldes  

Who Okay, um, well, we bought a car in Chile in Santiago and drove up. We’re in Columbia. Now, obviously, I’m Melissa. And the whole trips probably going to be a year in total. And I would definitely recommend, you’ve got to, we don’t have to, I mean, everybody’s different. But it’s been really helpful for me to push my boundaries. There’s been times where I’ve had problems with anxiety and stuff like that on the road. But just putting yourself out there meeting new people has been amazing. Coming across things on the street, like in Chile, we came across this really cool paste up on the wall. But it was made of like somebody had actually sew in yarn into paper and then done a paste up and kind of like the native indigenous style. And I was like, That is such a cool idea. So it’s just like it reignites your curiosity for the world again, I don’t know that I’ll ever use that particular thing. But there’s certain color combinations and murals and stuff that I’ve seen. And I’m like, wow, I never thought of doing that. And so it’s like, oh, I might I might try X, Y and Zed or. But yeah, it’s it’s been, it’s really amazing. I really recommend going exploring in the world if you can, or if you want to, if that’s what interests you. Because it really does just kind of it opens your eyes to possibilities that are out there, I think. Yeah, definitely.

Iva Mikles  

And how do you do networking, maybe like also before the trip? And if you can share with people like how do you create new contact? Or like if you go to events? Or how do you find places to stay when you travel? So what is your approach to meeting people?

Haylee Fieldes  

Well, the first few months, we actually kept it pretty quiet, because things like buying the car and stuff like that was an absolute nightmare. And we just needed to sort of just find our feet for this whole travel shenanigans. But since then, it’s been always on social media, because I have a really awesome social media following people that I love all over the world, who’ve been really, really just awesome people that we’ve caught up with some people in Chile, we stayed with a new friend that we met via social media invited us to stay with him in Bogota, for a week and a half. So generally social media. And then in country, it’s just talking to people, you know, when you just say, you know, like, oh, you know, what do you do? I’m an artist, I’m straight. I was, then people be like, Oh, hey, I know. A Chilean street artist, or my friend is a Peruvian artist and stuff like that. It’s just like, things start to just fall into place. And it’s really awesome. And you meet people, you wouldn’t you wouldn’t have known to look up maybe or it’s just yeah, it’s really cool, because it’s really sort of organic. And it’s an adventure in its own in its own right.

Iva Mikles  

Yeah. How did you design your day before you starting to travel? Because now you have like, unexpected?

Haylee Fieldes  

Yeah, all the time. There is no day. So before I would basically normally be painting five or six days a week. And it would depend on whether it was a studio day or location day. So I’m painting a mural. If it’s Amuro day, basically, you got to just beat the traffic to get there. So you got to get up early. Because I’m a morning person. I prefer to work in the morning and I work. If I’m really busy, I might get up at six and start working immediately just have a cup of coffee and then have breakfast around nine or 10 but then only work until four if I can help it. It has a mural day again getting up early and making sure the cars packed and getting to location either before or after peak hour. And just and also depending on if it’s summer in Perth, the city that we live in. It’s really really really hot. It’s like 30 could be 3536 So 40 degrees during the day. So yeah, you’d want to you really want to get there in the morning and get some paint laid down, and then knock off in the early afternoon if possible. Yeah, that’s pretty much it.

Iva Mikles  

And when you work on the on the boards or other artworks, you also created some artworks for merchandise, right? If I’m not, like mistaken.

Haylee Fieldes  

Um, for my, for my own merchandise, yeah. I don’t tend to have like a, I have a red bubble online store. But really, that’s because I had a whole bunch of artwork on my computer that wasn’t doing anything. And, you know, I thought, Well, why not set it up. So it’s not something I promote heavily because I know some people make all their money off places like Etsy and RedBubble. And, you know, those kinds of stores. For me, it’s not the main focus of my art practice. So it’s more just a way to have another online presence and to make a little bit of money or if someone really wants a particular graphic as a anything a phone cover, or a pillow or a print, then I can just send them there. And it’s really easy. Yeah. And

Iva Mikles  

do you have like, a favorite tools when you work with you like, digital tool? Or maybe what do you paint with, like, favorite brand? Now?

Haylee Fieldes  

Yes, I have. I have, I’ve actually brought them with me on my brushes. I think being because I’m a painter, brushes are probably the most important thing. So my favorite absolute splurge brush for doing really crisp outlines is the Windsor Newton series seven sable brushes with natural hair. They are amazing. There really is nothing quite like them, but they’re really expensive. So yeah, I don’t buy them often. And then I look after them when I have them. And then I have some really cool fake mongoose kind of I don’t know what the type of brush is kind of an oval shaped brush. And they’re really nice for acrylic painting as well. And then I have my preferred brand of paint which is forgot golden golden acrylics on the US and my favorite. But I’m not super fussy because I also have a whole bunch of other brands that have been given to me a sponsorship. So I mix them and use them as well.

Iva Mikles  

Yeah, so you use a different brands as well. And then you have one favorite, which you kind of like work from time to time.

Haylee Fieldes  

Yeah, my go to my go to paint, you know, which is like the it’s it’s really expensive, though. So it’s if I really, yeah, if I really need a particular effect, or I want to feel very comfortable. I’ll use these ones. But I’m pretty adaptable because I mean with neuros it’s there’s a spray paint and surfboards. There’s a certain spray paint Molotov spray paint that is my favorite. But where I am at the moment, you can’t really get that. So you have to be adaptable, also the house paint, you just got to get what’s available. So some of its really, really crappy quality. So yeah, it’s good to try to be adaptable.

Iva Mikles  

And when you are learning and kind of just thinking about the like, like, What pains to use, or the techniques do you have like books you like for like people to read or check out.

Haylee Fieldes  

Um, I didn’t really use books, I just kind of fell into it. But over time started actually watching YouTube to get some different ideas on how to do things. Some of the techniques I use are just things that made sense to me at the time. So perhaps, they’re a little bit more kind of done in a roundabout way because I just kind of thought, oh, yeah, this works. Like everyone but ya know, books in general, really. Not for painting. I love books I read all the time, but really, for painting, it didn’t occur to me to actually buy a book. I just kind of looked online and practiced and sort of found my own way.

Iva Mikles  

And then for like fiction books or or like life advice books or something, but you would give us a present some book what you love.

Haylee Fieldes  

Or I read so much. I really like what is it modern literature. So that’s the kind of books that I’ve personally read. But if I was to give a creative person a book and actually or you guys definitely recommend Elizabeth Gilbert’s Big Magic, actually just creativity in general. She’s obviously a writer. So a lot of it’s about writing, but a friend lent it to me and it was actually super helpful. It put a lot of things in perspective. For instance, probably a lot of you guys are familiar with the feeling of what I call the fear. So basically, maybe you’re at the start of a project. And I get this all the time, I just, I’ve been painting all day and I look at it and go, Oh, I was terrible. I’m terrible. I’m a hopeless loudest, it’s never gonna work. And you just feel really bad about what you’ve painted. And then maybe that might last a day. And then the next morning, I’d get up early and start painting again. And then it, it works out absolutely fine. But she kind of, you know, I normally hate that. And I’m like, Oh, I feel like, I feel so bad when I feel like that. But she addresses that in her book, this kind of idea of creative fear. And she says, it’s just a normal part of the creative process. Which I was like, Wow, I’ve never thought of it as being normal. But, you know, normally, for me, it’s a signifier that I’m really invested in what I’m painting. Because if I don’t care, then I don’t really get the fear, the fear, but if I really care about it, and I’m emotionally invested in it, then I tend to get the fear. And so it’s kind of a sign that I actually care and I’m doing a good job.

Iva Mikles  

Oh, that’s interesting. And so when you talk about these, like ups and downs, can you describe maybe like, the most difficult moment of your art career? Or like the worst? And maybe, what do you learn from it? Or what is the key takeaway?

Haylee Fieldes  

Ah, the worst. I don’t think there’s ever been an actual worst. I’ve been very lucky. There’s been times a couple of times where the client? Hasn’t there was like miscommunication from the start. Oh, yeah, no, there was, there was one worst time, I didn’t even start working on it, though. It was the biggest project that ever had, I didn’t have been working in it, as well. It’s only within my first year. And I was approached by a massive international company. And I’m not gonna say who they are. And they’re a gym company, they have gyms all over the world. They’re very big. And the head of marketing got ahold of me and said, Hey, we want to do like some promotional surfboards. Some of them were doing, could you do 12 and send them to America. And they had a pretty unlimited budget. So I was like, like, it’s really happening. Now. This is real. And I got so carried away, came up with all these concepts. And you know, we got the budget approved first, and I was like, wow, obviously, it wasn’t with much time to spare. And I was just, like, overwhelmed, like, wow. And I send them the concepts. And they’re kind of like, yeah, these are cool, but this isn’t really quite what we’re looking for. That was like, hey, you know, what now and I’m like, Oh, okay. Because my first mistake is before even agreeing to anything, I hadn’t asked them what they wanted. I kind of assumed if they’d seen my website, they knew what I did. But really, what they did is I just Googled painted surfboards, and my website had come up really high on the list. So they just kind of assumed I would paint anything on a surfboard and they gave me all this kind of like information which was corporate and corporate branding, and like using stuff that I’m really not into which was kind of appropriating native cultures and I was just kind of like I all cuz I mean like I’m with an anthropologists so it’s really like oh paint a Native American with like feathers in a hair and like we want one who’s like in an Indian get like it was just like oh my god it was racial stereotypes and I was just like, No. So I had to I had to go back to I thought about it for a day and because I mean obviously the the money and the prestige was dangling over my head and I just went you know what, this doesn’t align with my principles like yeah, I probably could do it for them. But then what kind of what am I setting myself up for basically so I just emailed her I said look, I think I think you’ve got the wrong artist. This isn’t really my thing. So what I arranged them with the project manager because they had their own design team anyway so I basically said Look how about you guys design what you want on the surfboards and our project manage I found a surfboard shaper in a landlocked state in the US to make the surfboards and arrange to get them printed. So I basically project manage the whole thing for them instead for obviously a lot less money but I just because I couldn’t leave them in the lurch with no other alternative but at the same time for my own principles. I really, I didn’t feel comfortable with the project. Yeah,

Iva Mikles  

when it makes sense that you also offered them like different approach that you still like solve the problem somehow.

Haylee Fieldes  

Exactly. Okay. You wouldn’t know what I learned. What I learned was number one, always make sure before you you It took money or anything else that they know what you do, and that you guys are on the same page for the project or for the artwork about what you want to do. And the second thing is if you have to, it’s totally okay to say no to stuff. But from my personal thing, I pride myself on being someone who’s easy to work with and find solutions. So finding another solution that I could give them worked out really well. They were really happy with that. They got exactly what they wanted, because they designed it in house, obviously. And you know, I got paid for my part, as well. So, you know, it worked out well. In the end.

Iva Mikles  

Yeah, definitely. And is there something you wish you knew before you started the whole art career? Something you would say to young self?

Haylee Fieldes  

Oh, young god. Ah, so many things. I Yeah, the biggest the biggest would be, don’t be afraid of rejection. Because at the start, it was, you know, my art was very personal. And I was really like, Ooh, what will people think and stuff like that, and I didn’t have a lot of confidence in it. And I was so afraid of rejection that I didn’t put myself out there. So my kind of thing is like, if you don’t ask, you don’t get so put yourself out there. Talk to people. Ask for things that you want, or you know, not that you want. But like, for instance, a big thing when I was probably my second year was being sponsored by a graffiti art brand. And I got that just by adding a little bit of their product placement into a video and sending it to them and just say, Hey, guys, what do you what do you think? Do you like this? And it turns out that they were thinking about trying to get into the surf art market anyway. So they loved it. And they’re like, Hey, do you want to do more of these? And so I would never have gotten that if I hadn’t had the gumption to just ask first, you know, I mean, what I realize now is the worst they’re gonna say is no, yeah, that’s it. And they say no, and you don’t take it personally, and you move on with your life, you go to plan B, or Plan C, or talk to other people who might be a better fit for you.

Iva Mikles  

Because then you kind of find the value, what you would bring to them. And then they can see like, Okay, this is actually helping us. So

Haylee Fieldes  

basically, if you’re going to sit around and wait for opportunity to fall in your lap, I mean, in the early years, that’s just not going to happen. You have to get really good at putting yourself out there finding opportunities and asking, you know, Hey, can I be involved in this? Hey, I love your paints, and I work with them all the time. Can I do a tutorial using them or Lola, whatever it is you want, you know, I mean, obviously be prepared to hear know quite a lot. But if you send out enough requests, you’ll get something back in return.

Iva Mikles  

That’s perfect. It’s also for people who want to do like YouTube videos about something and yeah, that’s really nice.

Haylee Fieldes  

Well, that’s just life advice. I think actually, it’s not just to do with that.

Iva Mikles  

Yeah, but definitely also like for young YouTubers, for creative people are basically whatever brand they like and and try this. Yeah, that’s really cool. And is there some tool or medium you bought, which kind of simplifies your life maybe like a software or something you use daily?

Haylee Fieldes  

Google Calendar. Yeah, that it sounds silly. I know that’s such a basic program. But I didn’t used to be very organized. And if you’ve got a lot of projects on the go, murals and things like that, that need to be scheduled for particular times, Google Calendar, and its to do list, you know, that you can tick off things of that really helped me get my life in order and make sure I get all my jobs done. That was really helpful. But I mean, it sounds silly, because it’s just a free. Obviously, it’s a free thing. But I found it really helpful.

Iva Mikles  

Yeah, definitely. It is. I mean, I like it as well. I use it all the time. Yeah, so and so one of my last question, what I want to ask is about the future. And if you would imagine yourself in five to 10 years and you have the dream scenario, what are you doing, you know, what your life looks like?

Haylee Fieldes  

Well, I haven’t, I haven’t thought enough. In advance, I think I would like to have maybe a like a what do you call it like it like to be able to have like this really cool property on the coast of maybe Mexico, where I run workshops during the year and I also do my own painting, and I have exhibitions and beautiful locations that I can go visit. I think it would involve a lot of travel and meeting new people, and also having more time to do my own work as well I think will be really important.

Iva Mikles  

It’s perfect. And so the last question is about like firefighter future and what would you like to be remembered for in 100 years?

Haylee Fieldes  

Wow. I haven’t even thought that well, obviously, I haven’t thought that far ahead. Who knows, I think a little bit closer to home. Like, when I started doing the tutorials on YouTube, I really didn’t think too hard about it the effect it would have on other people. But since then I’ve had people message me and say stuff like, hey, filthy, you know, thank you so much for the tutorials, you’re the reason I picked up my paint brushes for the first time in three years. And I started painting again because of you and stuff like that. And that is I think what I really love about it is like if someone’s gonna watch one of the tutorials, and it’s gonna inspire them to get into art, or to like I used to be I’d put down my brushes, and I kind of given up on an idea of an art career. And so if, if my story or my tutorials are going to help them kind of realize that for themselves, then that I think would be a really exciting kind of thing to have left behind, you know, yeah, gone.

Iva Mikles  

That’s perfect. This was so much fun. And thank you so much for being here and inspire young people. And if you have, like last piece of advice or guidance, before we say goodbye, you can share the wisdom.

Haylee Fieldes  

Oh, I think I gave away my best one already was, if you don’t ask you don’t get and don’t be afraid to hear no. It’s basically also Yeah, have, if you really want to make it as an artist, you’re going to need to have a good support team around you. Because at the start, it is really, really hard unless you get really lucky. I mean, at the start once a week, I would be like, I’m never gonna be a king. I’m a terrible artist. I’m never, this is never gonna happen. And it was only having people around me, particularly my now husband, Mitch, who would who would just be like, no, no, no, no, you keep painting, you’re gonna be fine. You know, you’ll make it and people around you that believe in you. And that can support you. But that will also give you not only will they be supportive, but actually give you real advice. So for instance, it’s really helpful that he would look at artworks and say, Oh, that’s good. But there’s something a bit wrong with the eye or you know, you need people who are going to support you, but also give you some real feedback, because you actually need real feedback to develop as an artist. Not just nice stuff, but also like constructive criticism. Yeah,

Iva Mikles  

yeah. Super great. And I’m super happy again that you are here. And thank you again, so much for inspiring people.

Haylee Fieldes  

Thank you so much for having me. It’s been a lot of fun.

Iva Mikles  

Super cool. And thanks, everyone for joining in and see you in the next episode. Five hope you guys enjoy this interview. You can find all the resources mentioned in this episode at artsideoflife.com. Just type a guest name in the search bar. There is also a little freebie waiting for you. So go check it out. If you enjoyed this episode, please leave a review on iTunes, hopefully five stars so I can read and inspire more people like you. Also, don’t forget to subscribe to Art Side of Life podcast, because I post a new interview every single workday. If you want to watch the interviews, head over to artsideoflife.com/youtube. Thank you so much for listening. Don’t forget to inspire each other. And I will talk to you guys in the next episode. Bye.

Announcer  

Thanks for listening to the Art Side of Life podcast at www.artsideoflife.com

Hi, I am Iva (rhymes with “viva”). I am an artist, illustrator, founder of Art Side of Life®, and Top Teacher on Skillshare. Since 2009 I've worked as an illustrator, character designer, art director, and branding specialist focusing on illustration, storytelling, concepts, and animation. I believe that we are all creative in infinite numbers of ways, so I've made it my mission to teach you everything I know and help either wake up or develop your creative genius. Learn more about me.

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