Giving up your day job to become a full-time artist is risky, especially when you have 6 kids and endless bills piling up. Brittany Johnson, owner and creator of Monroe Washington’s Vintage & Rust boutique followed her childhood dream and made that happen. How? The way all great things happen… by accident! After being told that her doodles and sketches wouldn’t put money on the table, she ditched her aspirations of pursuing a career in something creative and fell into fields deemed more secure. Brittany settled for various jobs in banks and hospitals before she really had her “ah ha!” moment.
“For the brief period I was home with the kids, (we were getting ready for our wedding… even though we were already married!) I made all the decor and signs for the occasion. After the wedding I sold everything and people just started requesting me to make them various things,” she admits. As they say: if you’re good at something, never do it for free.... okay, maybe the Joker said that. But Brittany had an epiphany that changed her life, she could get paid to do what she loves; and for most people, that seems like an impossible concept pulled straight from a self-help book. Not for this fearless female. In January of 2017, she went all-in and opened up her charming little shop on Main Street. If you’ve had the chance to pop by the store or take a gander at her creations online- the work simply speaks for itself. Her paint classes aren’t the only thing she’s been recognized for, beautifully crafted, vintage refurbished home pieces and the cutest mom & me outfits are just a few things that could always be found in the shop. That’s about to change, as she would like to see the business evolve in one specific direction… painting classes!
“I started playing around with paintings on the pallet wood and it turned out to be a hit! Eventually that turned into paint classes. I just enjoy being able to share my passion and talent with other people. It's always fascinating to see what everyone comes up with. How they can all start with the same sketch and end up with something different and uniquely their own,” she says.
While some vendors will still be selling their goods in Vintage & Rust (homemade candles and handmade jewelry, just to name a few), Brittany is turning her focus towards what she loves most, teaching art. That doesn’t mean you won’t find a few pieces of furniture for sale here and there, but the shop is undergoing a pretty significant metamorphosis. “I'm turning the whole store into an art studio within the month and I'll be offering open studio painting, bigger classes and pre-sketched take home painting kits!”, she shares. During open studios, you will be able to come in and choose from a plethora of pre-made signs (different styles and sizes) and turn it into anything your heart desires, with Brittany’s guidance, of course. She will have pre-cut vinyl decal designs and ready-made art design transfers that you will be able to choose from.
Also read Brittany's interview on Live the SnoCo Life.