Name: Carey Arensberg
City: Mobile, Alabama
Main Hustle: 4th Grade Teacher
Side Hustle: Artist
How did you get started?: My husband is a contractor. I saw a pile of scrap wood and Sheetrock mud and played around with some textured designs. After the 2012 Christmas tornado in Mobile, I started gathering scrap wood from some of the homes/buildings that were destroyed and started putting crosses on them and tagging them to the street or specific building they came from. I sold them back to the community as a sign of hope—that something positive can come from disaster—and gave 100% of the profits back to families who lost the most. After that I just kept painting things that I enjoy! I just really love creating things with my hands!
When/where do you work on your Side Hustle?: During the summer I work during nap time or when my kids are at daycare. During the school year, it has to be after my kids are asleep or at the crack of dawn before work!
What are the challenges of your Side Hustle?:
Sometimes it’s hard to have the confidence to post something you spent time creating. It’s easy to wonder if the amount of “likes” received on Instagram equates to the quality of the work. I always question whether or not I’m a real artist because I don’t have real training!
What are the rewards of your Side Hustle?: I love to create things with my hands. I love to spend time on something and be proud of my work! I love for my kids to see their mom doing something worthwhile. I love donating pieces for charity auctions and incorporating art into my classroom! There are so many rewards!
Who is your greatest supporter?: My husband. He tolerates a messy art room, the strong smell of sealant, random paintings all over the house, and my constant, “What do you think of this?” My mom, my kids, and even my colleagues keep me busy! My sister displays my art in her house, and my friends have paintings of mine proudly hung. So to anyone who chooses to use my work in their homes, I’m truly grateful!
Who/what is your greatest source of inspiration?: I love to paint things in nature. Flowers, plants, fish, and even my abtracts are inspired by our beautiful Alabama coast!
Also I’m truly inspired by anyone brave enough to take the leap into the creative pool with the confidence to share it with the world!
Have you received recognition for your work?: After the “Crisis Cross” period, I received a lot of press. A handwritten “thank you” letter from Congressman Jo Bonner, but not much more than that 🙂
What is your dream for your Side Hustle?: I’d like to develop my skills more, continue learning and experimenting, and just keep going!
Do you have any advice for others working on a Side Hustle?:
Although it’s hard, don’t sell yourself short! Don’t doubt you’re the real deal! The first time you put yourself out there, you’re already inspiring someone else to do the same!