Alice Muir paints her own future

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Alice Muir paints her own future

Alice Muir works hard on her newest cartoon portrait for her Etsy website.

Alice Muir works hard on her newest cartoon portrait for her Etsy website.

Francesca D'Urzo

Alice Muir works hard on her newest cartoon portrait for her Etsy website.

Francesca D'Urzo

Francesca D'Urzo

Alice Muir works hard on her newest cartoon portrait for her Etsy website.

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After moving away from home, she had no friends, no belongings, and no passion. 

She tried to distract herself with the few art supplies she was able to keep.

And before her eyes, those drawings became more than a hobby; they became a career.

This art belongs to Alice Muir, a senior at Carlmont who has decided to pursue art professionally after high school instead of following the traditional college route.

Muir has been immersed in the art world for over ten years and now, at age 17, focuses on further expanding her artistic abilities into a business and professional brand. 

“I began drawing at a very young age, mostly because my mom is a professional artist, and I have always found her work fascinating. Little did I know, from that point on, art would become a constant in my life and even offer me an abundance of career opportunities,” Muir said.

Muir and her family moved from England to America when she was 13 years old, but she had a difficult time dealing with the stark transition.

“Moving away from home was one of the hardest moments of my life. I had to leave behind everything I once knew and loved,” Muir said. “During the move, I was not allowed to bring many belongings with me. All I had was a few pens and paper from my art stash, which I am now beyond grateful for.”

After moving from country to country, and high school to high school, Muir found it extremely difficult to make new friends.

“I spent my first year at Carlmont alone. When I first moved, I felt completely isolated and out of place. Growing up in a different country and culture, I could not relate to the other kids in my grade and the trends they would bond over,” Muir said. “Instead of pretending to be someone I’m not, I decided to focus on rebuilding my identity and discovering what genuinely makes me happy, which is where art comes in.”

Muir began to take art as a hobby to distract her from the hardships that came with moving away from home. She spent every minute she possibly could refining her drawings and immersing herself in the art world. 

After studying hundreds of YouTube drawing tutorials, Muir’s technique improved immensely, and she began to develop a unique style of art that separated her from other artists.

“Despite my mom being an artist, I am completely self-taught and developed my passion for drawing on my own,” Muir said. “I specialize in drawing portraits with a cartoon style, but I am hoping to expand my artistic ability into more contemporary genres.”

 

During her freshman year, Muir created a portfolio of all of her best work and decided to post it on a public Instagram account to share her passion with others.

Before her eyes, the account went viral and gained over 10,000 followers.

“I was in complete shock. I could not believe how many people recognized and cared about the work I produced,” Muir said. “It felt so good to finally be acknowledged after the months of isolation that came with my move.”

After the influx of followers, Muir began to take her art account more seriously. Instead of random portraits, she created a target demographic and decided to focus on drawing cartoon-style portraits of her favorite K-pop bands.

With this shift in focus, Muir’s art account grew more rapidly and now has over 18,500 followers.

“When I started to gain all of these followers, my hobby began to feel more like a passion,” Muir said. “I started to receive countless comments from other art enthusiasts, asking if my work was for sale, which changed everything for me.”

Muir decided to begin building her brand as an artist by starting her own Etsy shop where she sells her art in the form of posters, stickers, and photo cards.

Despite her busy school schedule, Muir still manages to produce a decent amount of product and makes about $1,500 a month on art alone.

Michelle Yavorsky, a senior at Carlmont, said, “I sit next to Alice in one of my classes, and seeing her draw is mesmerizing. She is so beyond talented, and I think her work deserves recognition on a professional level.”

It is upsetting to me to see how quick school faculty is to judge the aspirations of students when they derail from societal norms.”

— Alice Muir

With her recent successes, Muir has decided to defy societal expectations and will not be attending a traditional college after high school. Instead, she plans on spending her funds and time on expanding her art business.

“My ultimate goal is to follow in my mom’s footsteps and pursue art professionally for the rest of my life. My mom has told me that attending a university only stifled her career, so I would rather focus on refining my craft rather than receiving a degree I would never use,” Muir said. “After high school, my plan is to move back to England and work to expand my art brand outside of Etsy to bigger areas of retail.”

Muir has received large amounts of backlash from her teachers and peers for refusing to follow the traditional graduation route, but nothing will stand in the way of her passion.

“Most of the people who criticize me for my decisions are the ones who have no background or knowledge of the art world. For example, my high school counselor would constantly argue with me about how I am bound to have no future in art without bothering to understand the logistics and context of my plan,” Muir said. “It is upsetting to me to see how quick school faculty is to judge the aspirations of students when they derail from societal norms.”

Along with furthering her artistic career, Muir strives to have a positive influence on those who have faced any degree of societal isolation, as well as those who are too afraid to pursue their passion.

Nicolas Gonzalez, a senior at Carlmont, said, “Alice has been one of my closest friends throughout high school, and seeing her grow into the unapologetic person she is today has been so inspiring.”

As of today, Muir continues to pursue her art profession, despite the criticism, and is currently working on a few new custom portraits to sell on her website.

“All in all, pen and paper have been the constants throughout my entire life, and I would not trade my experiences for the world. Art has truly molded me into the person I am today, and no amount of societal judgment will take that away from me,” Muir said. “And to anyone who is too afraid to pursue their goals, do not compromise yourself to appease unattainable societal expectations. You are more than that.”

To support Muir’s work, visit her Instagram account and Etsy website.