Maya Gohill: Today’s Notable Young Professional

Elevator Pitch: Describe your job in a nutshell.
Throughout the week there are a few different things I do but under the umbrella of art: I teach, paint, and I run Creative Team Building Calgary; a business that focuses around team building exercises in an art space.

What does creative team building look like?
It’s a different way for people to bond and connect using the creative process. I usually have groups come into ArtPoint Studio and we spend a few hours together painting. Right now, this is a very unique service in Calgary.

Why did you start working at your company? What was the inspiration for this career route?
With my team building company, it came about due to a deficiency in the market. For most people in Calgary, team building often meant taking field trips to the bowling alley or the bar. I wanted to offer something different. Something creative. Offering painting based workshops was a hit because people were really craving something different. 

When it comes to my art, I realised back in university that I didn’t want to end up doing something I didn’t completely love so I shifted my focus from sociology and psychology and moved towards a BFA in art and art history. Taking that further, I had thought I’d be a teacher and educator which meant I’d need more school.

After taking a trip to San Francisco for a few days I decided that was the place to attend grad school and that turned out to be a life shaping experience. 

What is the best part of what you do on a day-to-day basis? The most challenging part?
Connecting with really cool people is my favourite part about what I do for a living. The most challenging part is trying to juggle it all and making sure I get enough sleep.

What is one sign that you’ve seen over the years to suggest that your work/life balance is off?
If its taking me way too long to finish a piece.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
I really want to get my work into a gallery space. That’s a big goal for me. 

What is one major challenge that you’ve had to overcome in your career? How did you overcome it?
When it comes to painting, one the hardest things I’ve ever had to overcome is getting stuck in a creative rut and trying to find a way to move out of that headspace. It’s the worst feeling for an artist to feel bored and tired of what you’re making.

What helped me move past that rut was a commission that challenged me to paint in a different style. When the new Phil and Sebastian coffee shop opened up in Mission, I had been asked to create portraits of both owners but unlike many of my usual portraits, they wanted these ones to have more of a comical and less congratulatory tone. A fast approaching deadline and the challenge to reinvent my art and portraiture style ignited something and helped me get back on track. 

What does success look like to you? Does Money = Happiness?
No it’s the other way around. Happiness = Money.

Success is satisfaction in knowing that you’re being the best version of yourself.

What is the most memorable milestone in your career?
There’s a few: Getting out of my artistic rut was a big one. Becoming a tenured professor has also been a major milestone. I was also asked to create a piece for George Lucas’ book, Star Wars Art: Visions, which was an exciting project.

Do you have any advice for other young artists or professionals?
Yes. Young artists should have a solid plan in place for their career. Be practical. When you’re in school you want to be creative but might not think about how that’s going to work from a financial perspective, which can lead to you having to sacrifice art as a career path. Artists need to look at what they do as a business and you have to look at how to market yourself.

I’d also say it’s important to listen closely to your inner voice and how that translates into your art form. Don’t get swept up in trends. Follow your inner voice to ensure that what you create is always fresh and exciting for your audience. This is much more powerful than a trend. Be the 1%. That’s what ultimately brings success.

Where is your favourite place to wine/ dine in your city and why?
Model Milk and UNA.

When you’re not working how do you love to spend your “Me” time?
Meeting up with friends. Hanging out with awesome people.

Where is your top travel destination?
Right now I’d love to go to Paris again; for the art, the city, the romantic vibe. I’m also very interested in checking out Nashville for the old Southern feel and undercurrent of new against the grain. 

If you had to choose a theme song, what would it be?
……Maybe Eye of the Tiger? (Ha ha)

If you weren’t doing what you’re doing, what would you be doing?
Something to do with psychology, but if we’re talking something glamorous then I’d be a curator.

Do you support any charities? If so, which one(s) and why is that important to you?
I like to volunteer at drop-in centres and I’ve donated my art to several charities.

What to you is notable?
When you believe in yourself and the possibilities that are out there for you, it’s amazing how the universe can align itself for you.

Blackberry, iPhone, Android, or Other?
iPhone, of course. 



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