Today we’d like to introduce you to Kara Mraz.
Kara, we’d love to hear your story and how you got to where you are today both personally and as an artist.
I would consider myself to have always been a very art-inclined individual, even at a young age. I have always thrived in aspects where innovation and creativity are utilized, but sadly, the older I got the busier I became and I always assumed that art could and would never be a part of my life, let alone career, the way that I would have hoped for. So, I went about life just as any other person, working a very un-fulfilling 9-5pm job and wondering “is this it? will I have to work a job I dislike forever?” I got so frustrated with not only my unhappiness in my work, but also the fact that I was left no time to pursue my passion, or a new career for that matter. It wasn’t until I began planning my own wedding that I realized my life could be completely different. I knew I was going to be creating all of our decor items, as I had already done so for friends in the past, and I took it upon myself to take an entry-level calligraphy class, for good measure, to be sure everything I made was up to par. After that class, I stayed up all night practicing my lettering, and building a very unstructured business plan – I still laugh about this – to start my own calligraphy business. I was looking for a creative outlet, a way to stay in-touch with my passion for art and provide the hospitality that anybody planning an extremely important event deserves. I genuinely had no grasp on just how far this little dream of mine would go, but I am so incredibly blessed and overwhelmed with joy as a result of the support and encouragement I have received thus far and plan to continue building expanding Kalligraphy by Kara here in the Chicagoland area.
We’d love to hear more about your art. What do you do you do and why and what do you hope others will take away from your work?
Kalligraphy by Kara offers an array of wedding and special event products ranging from welcome signs, to table numbers, to bar menus, placecards, etc. Basically, if you can get ink on the surface, the world is our oyster! I like to believe the items I create are not only exclusive to me because of my hand-lettering, but also because of the products and materials I offer. As someone who has spent the past year planning a wedding herself and working alongside of top vendors here in the city, I am able to stay up to date, even ahead, of the current wedding trends. In doing so, I like to take those elements and put a spin on them. What inspires me and sets my work apart is truly my passion for individualizing my clients’ product. It is easy to go to the store and pick up items that may suffice as great accent pieces at a special event. However, getting to know my clients, their stories and what brought them to this point of planning such a monumental day in their lives is what gives the end result of my products a true edge. Once a client’s order is complete and the exchange has been made it is always my goal that the work I did for them enhances the atmosphere, and even enlightens their guests on something about the client themselves, making the event all the more intimate and personal.
Artists face many challenges, but what do you feel is the most pressing among them?
I think the biggest challenge for any artist is having the courage to undoubtedly jump in with no hesitations. I will be the first to say that I never truly knew what was going to become of my ‘business’ until it actually became a business. With that being said, the one thing I did know is that I deserved more than going through life, working an unfulfilling job day in and day out. I knew there had to be more to life than that, and I became determined to make it happen. As a creative-minded person myself, I recognize the challenges of getting caught up in our work, honing in on one thing and suddenly you realize the week is over and you only accomplished two of the eight things you had set out for. Staying not only organized, but disciplined, is crucial to get yourself started. Wake up earlier, give yourself more time in the day to accomplish what needs to get done, set aside time for the things that don’t always cater to us ‘artists’, such as client outreach, and get good at it. If it’s not your work that sets you apart from another artist, it will be YOU – your personality, your follow-up, the service you provide; on the back-end of the business. Starting something new and moving completely out of your comfort zone can be terrifying for so many reasons, but if you truly commit to your art, believe in it and surround yourself with a great support system, there is a very bright future ahead.
Do you have any events or exhibitions coming up? Where would one go to see more of your work? How can people support you and your artwork?
Fellow Chicago-ans can see my work as well as my creative processes on my social media handles; specifically my Instagram (@kalligraphyby_kara). My work can also been found in the calligraphers’ section of local vendors on The Knot. I owe all of my successes up until this point to the support I have received from other artists in the wedding and event industry! The power of simply lifting each other up through encouragement and referrals is all the support any aspiring artist could ever need.
- Website: www.kalligraphybykara.com
- Phone: 8478092290
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/kalligraphyby_kara
Jenna Marie Photography, City Savvy Imaging, Carnival Studio