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Life & Work with Chelsea Bernardo

Today we’d like to introduce you to Chelsea Bernardo.

Hi Chelsea, can you start by introducing yourself? We’d love to learn more about how you got to where you are today?
I have always been interested in art for as long as I can remember and I really found my artistic ability in high school. During my high school years is where I really was able to play with different mediums and explore what spoke to me. Once I graduated high school, I went to Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) to explore the interior design world. I graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Interior Design.

From there, I entered the retail industry doing visual merchandising and design with well-known companies like The Limited Brands (Bath and body works, Victoria Secrets), Chicos, Ann Taylor, etc. In 2015, I moved to Denver Colorado to explore the mountains. I started to freelance with different companies and architecture firms to really figure out what I wanted to do next. Years later, I found myself in the cannabis industry working with some amazing companies like Point Seven Group and High Road Design.

Now, I am taking what I learned from my years in retail design and the cannabis design world to start Marie + Co studio. I wanted to be able to bring minimalist artwork and home decor that was inspired by nature to everyone. I have always wanted to start my own retail studio per se to create a community of vendors to help each other succeed, and have a safe haven to bounce ideas off each other, space to work, etc.

I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle-free, but so far would you say the journey has been a fairly smooth road?
There have been some bumps in the road but I think if it was smooth where would I learn to grow? I actually tried to kick this business off in 2014, soon after I graduated from high school. But I could not find the style and medium that spoke to me. It took many years to find out what clicked and felt right.

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?
I specialize in minimalist paintings, prints, and home decor inspired by nature to brighten up your day. The mediums I mainly use are alkyd paints and molding paste.

I have been lucky to start to partner with vendors like Carrie Snyder at Quil Home Decor to create concrete poured planters and then I am able to paint my touch on them to sell. My end goal is to be able to create a piece of artwork that speaks to someone, whether it sparks a memory of their own or if they want me to create artwork based on their special hike or memory they may have. Artwork should inspire you the way you interpret it.

I am so proud of the community here in Columbus, Ohio. It is a community that is opened, accepting and we are each other’s biggest cheerleaders. Get yourself a community that pushes you to do your best and show courage to follow those dreams you have.

How do you think about luck?
My role at my latest job had really pushed me to learn what I want out of life and my career. I had learned so much business-wise and grew as a designer to have the courage to be able to branch off and have the confidence to know this is the right move to get to where I want to be. Your career path is what you make of it, even your own business.

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