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Decorative Artisan of the Month
Decorative Artist of the Month Archived
Decorative Painting Finishing School Mark Tillman
Decorative Painting Finishing School Donna Mock
Decorative Painting Finishing School Carmen Vergara
Decorative Painting Finishing School Lessandra Martins Melo
Decorative Painting Finishing School Anita Yeh
Decorative Painting Finishing School Sarah Hines and Mets Schilstra
Decorative Painting Finishing School Eulojio Ortega
Decorative Painting Finishing School Alison Ubert
Decorative Painting Finishing School Diane Kessler
Decorative Painting Finishing School Donna Flecchia
Decorative Painting Finishing School Joanne Ledbetter
Decorative Painting Finishing School Rachel Sejas
Decorative Painting Finishing School Cheryl Phan
Decorative Painting Finishing School Carrie Chimenti
Decorative Painting Finishing School Ann Simpson
Decorative Painting Finishing School Natalie Gorden
Decorative Painting Finishing School Marlene Mancilla
Decorative Painting Finishing School Diane LaLonde Hasso
Decorative Painting Finishing School Kim Bouy
Decorative Painting Finishing School Kathy Anders
Decorative Painting Finishing School Alyse and Amy Leventhal
Decorative Painting Finishing School Laurie Schrader
Decorative Painting Finishing School Carey Seven
Decorative Painting Finishing School Bryan King
Decorative Painting Finishing School Patricia Presto
Decorative Painting Finishing School Kass Wilson
Decorative Painting Finishing School Heidi Cinker
Decorative Painting Finishing School Shari Fry
Decorative Painting Finishing School Leigh Jones
Decorative Painting Finishing School Diane Beard
Decorative Painting Finishing School Ruth Giovannetti
Decorative Painting Finishing School Collen Drew
Decorative Painting Finishing School Melissa Loutos
Decorative Painting Finishing School Nathalie Nielsen
Decorative Painting Finishing School Susan Giugliano
Decorative Painting Finishing School Sarah Beth Cohen
Decorative Painting Finishing School Tracy Taylor
Decorative Painting Finishing School Janelle Tague
Decorative Painting Finishing School Kari Campbell
Decorative Painting Finishing School Ed Gonet
Decorative Painting Finishing School Bonnie Norling Wakeman
Decorative Painting Finishing School Kelly Weik
Decorative Painting Finishing School Janelle Tague
Decorative Painting Finishing School Gracie Reed
Decorative Painting Finishing School Allyce Lees
Decorative Painting Finishing School Terry Gavigan
Decorative Painting Finishing School Kate Perret
Decorative Painting Finishing School Jo-Marie Frigo
Decorative Painting Finishing School Deb Spertus
Decorative Painting Finishing School David Ryan
Decorative Painting Finishing School Clint Dunning
Decorative Painting Finishing School Roseann Bode
Decorative Painting Finishing School Wendy Digel
Decorative Painting Finishing School Lisa Butts
Decorative Painting Finishing School Catherine Coy
Decorative Painting Finishing School Pamela Coslet
Decorative Painting Finishing School Emily Quinn
Decorative Painting Finishing School Gary Riley
Decorative Painting Finishing School Bill Fisher
Decorative Painting Finishing School John Micheals
Decorative Painting Finishing School Faux Maison
Decorative Painting Finishing School Herb Shropshire
Decorative Painting Finishing School Gus Kyriakopoulos
Decorative Painting Finishing School Paul Minnihan
Decorative Painting Finishing School Jenna DeFalco
Decorative Painting Finishing School Sherri Grupe
Decorative Painting Finishing School Debbie Brown
Decorative Painting Finishing School Cynthia Davis
Decorative Artisan Dawn Bray
Decorative Faux Finisher Christine McIntyre-Hannon
Faux Finisher Faux Finishing School Anna and Scott Sadler
Faux Finisher Faux Finishing School Darryl Grant
Faux Finisher Faux Finishing School B. Juliana Leo
Faux Finisher Faux Finishing School Leslie Nesbitt
Faux Finisher Faux Finishing School Signature Mural & Finish, Inc.
Faux Finisher Faux Finishing School Joanne Voll
Faux Finisher Faux Finishing School Barb Runyard
Faux Finisher Faux Finishing School Nathan Giffin
Faux Finisher Faux Finishing School Patty Henning
Faux Finisher Faux Finishing School Emma Wright
Faux Finisher Faux Finishing School Joseph Freer
Faux Finisher Faux Finishing School Dawn Rundle
August 2006 Simona Clinge
August 2006 Ron Bledsoe
August 2006 Sharon Taglienti
August 2006 Martin Riding
August 2006 Tomas Kyrgiakos /
Iowanna Azar
August 2006 Jenna DeFalco
August 2006 Alissa Murnane
August 2006 Rhonda Barber
August 2006 Laura Ross
August 2006 Nancy Schnell
August 2006 John Michaels
August 2006 Debi Vaninger
August 2006 Marsh Danner
August 2006 Beth Haynes
August 2006 Cassy Weddel
August 2006 Bruce Thalman
August 2006 Melanie & Stuart Kershner
August 2006 Lorie Wolff
Doug Diekman
Lori Tselikis
Joanne Voll
Linda Wetsch
Jennifer Rongaus
Natalie White
Dan Gangler
Sharon Damisch
Kay Reyes
Mary Johnson
Ed Hartfiel
Estelle Leptich
Laurie Ebert

 

Artisan of the Month
Kass Wilson

Full of ambition, zest for knowledge, and drive, Kass Wilson narrowed her college major down to two options: medical or design. The war between head and heart ensued but the result produced a nursing degree. This seemed like the safe choice. After all, everyone needs medical care!
 
Fresh out of college, she began work as an ER nurse. Over time, her highly adventurous personality prompted her to accept a position to start the first air ambulance company in the area. Her career was in full swing, yet something inside remained unsatisfied.
 
When asked what made her change careers, Kass replied:
 
“I followed what appeared to be the more practical choice. But when you don’t follow your heart it will catch up with you. I had done so much in the medical industry…seven years in the ER, director of the air ambulance program, teaching and even sales of medical equipment. There was a deep down passion that I keep stuffing inside. After numerous moves, I made my way to Atlanta. At this point, I made a decision to follow my passion for design. Returning to school was not an option. But at least I had developed skills that would be transferrable to the design industry. That is when I took a position as a sales representative for a large office furniture dealership. To everyone’s surprise, I was extremely successful working on larger projects with the A & D community. The fact that I was not a designer turned out to be an advantage. It put me in a position to ask endless questions about what, how and why they do what they do. That empowered me to understand how to be a great partner, make the designer’s job easier and become their vendor of choice. Then one day, I was introduced to the world of intriguing finishes.”
 
With her senses whirling, Kass began her strategy to launch her decorative artistry business. Each move forward added to her repertoire and resulted in a solid foundation for her company. Not to far in the future, Kass Wilson Decorative Surfaces and Faux Artistry, also known as WallsTreat Studio, came to life.
 
How did you get started in the decorative artisan industry?
 
“I have been blessed that my path has crossed with some of the masters. Education is high on my priority list and I’ve had the opportunity to learn from the best of the best. Other things that helped were skills that I had gathered along the way, a background in chemistry, time management and organizational skills, professional sales skills and my corporate background. These have all given me insights about how to run this business like a business. In a nutshell, there is a big difference between the artist mentality, the contractor mentality and the business mentality.”

How did you meet Kathy Carroll?
 
“Over the years I’ve been very particular about who I chose as teachers and mentors.  Kathy Carroll is one of my primary GO TO people. I met her purely by chance during a trip to Chicago.  It only took about 30 minutes to realize that another blessing had crossed my path.  Travel plans were rearranged and Kathy gave me two days of a private lesson that was priceless. Because I have been around for so long it’s very difficult to find something new and innovative . . . not just another recipe.  She brings to the table a wealth of experience and knowledge of products and techniques.  Since I rarely use anything straight out of the can, it always seems to require something custom or unusual.  And that’s what she provides for me.”
 
Kass explains the strength and success behind her business.

 
“I’ve won awards in wood graining and enhancement of architectural details but what designers really come to me for is cutting edge ideas that are grounded in good design theory. To do this business and to do it well you have to be more than an artist. Technical/artistic skills are important and they must be perfected.  But in addition, you must be business savvy with sales skills, marketing skills and people skills sugar coated with some common sense and creativity. You need to continually add to these skills ever mindful of what will benefit your business. A good example of that is I cannot afford a professional photographer on a regular basis, so classes in architectural photography helped to fill that void. I’m not a designer, but in order to do my job well I continuously take seminars that are usually only attended by designers for CEUs. This enables me to bring to the table a good knowledge of design, (not to be confused with decorating). In addition there are also educational programs about marketing, sales, networking, legalities and all other facets of the business. But first and foremost, I think my success is largely due to an attitude that none of us can do this alone. We are always a part of a team.  I perceive myself as a piece of the puzzle that completes a well designed space and become a valuable resource to any design team.  From my perspective, good marketing is about expressing not what you can do with a paint brush, a trowel or even a sponge, but about how you bring value to both the process and the end result.”
 
What has been your most effective marketing tool?
 
Kass has a wonderful relationship with many designers and is well known in the Atlanta area. It is not unusual for her to be a guest speaker at design events or homeowner association meetings. She offers programs such as “Working with patterns” and “Illusions with paint.” Her business is thriving but she believes that her best tools are her blog and website. It goes out to over 1500 design professionals locally. If you haven’t seen it, you should take a look.  It is short, sweet and to the point giving credit and links to all of the people involved in the projects.  She writes each thoughtful story focusing on what is “good content” for her target audience.  Through her blog, she is often contacted by publications wanting to use her stories.  One was a publisher that asked her to write a “how to” book titled Creative Finishes. Her book shows innovative ideas for small as well as big projects.  She has won many awards, including her most recent, Atlanta Home Improvement for being the best in her category. Kass says, “What makes it all possible is the strategic alliances that have been built with the contract and design community.” She is constantly aware of those around her who bring value to her business and what she can add to theirs in return. 
 
When asked what her plans are for the future, Kass had this to say:
 
“With the economic challenges of the last 5 years, it has felt more like a bad reality show. I feel fortunate to be one of the survivors! It has been sad to watch so many talented artists, studios and even manufacturers close their doors. I don’t view decorative artistry as a lost art. Instead, I think it has created more exclusivity to our industry for those who are left standing. This is a window of time that has allowed only the best to emerge unscathed. The last year has been filled with optimism about the future. My current clients and designers seek my services because they appreciate something new, innovative and certainly of quality. The projects are now so much more creative and fulfilling than the acres of production finishes that are quickly becoming passé. I would love to find a protégé that is equally as passionate about this business.  Learning techniques is only one small aspect. I want someone who has a desire to learn how to make this a business.  Being a decorative artist is a lifestyle not just a paycheck.”

Kass works primarily out of Atlanta, Georgia, but when her designers call she is more than willing to travel for the right job.  She feels her biggest compliments are when she receives repeat business from designers or past clients.  She says, her “barometers for success come in the reactions that people have to my work. They just have to touch it; wonder how it was done, or they walk right by never believing that a surface is paint rather than the real thing.  In fact, that is one of my tag lines, ‘You must see it, feel it, touch it, to believe it!’”
 
 
To learn more about Kass Wilson or Kass Wilson Decorative Surfaces and Faux Artistry please call 770.777.7020 or visit www.kasswilson.com

 

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