Part Three: I Quit – Kenesha Sneed

She quit her job as an art director to become a ceramic artist and freelance illustrator.

Tired of working in front of a computer screen all day, Kenesha Sneed picked up a pottery class and instantly fell in love. “I was basically cheating on my computer with clay, and it felt amazing,” she says. Her job as an art director for motion and illustration for a design studio in Los Angeles had been her dream job. But as her passion for pottery turned into a business, she was burning the candle at both ends. “After a few months of working a full day and heading to the studio at night, it started affecting me both mentally and creatively, so I needed to make a change for myself and my work,” she says.

So she quit her day job to focus on her stoneware ceramics line, Tactile Matter. The desert-inspired wheel-thrown ceramics, which she makes in her Downtown LA Ceramics Arts District studio, have a definite West Coast vibe. Starting to sell online and engage in creative collaborations before she quit was good preparation for the success to come: “Having that exposure was a huge push and helped encourage me to step out of my comfort zone,” Sneed says.

Photos and Illustrations Credit: Kenesha Sneed

She still takes on freelance illustration projects, and this year she’s going to be introducing some new printed items alongside her stoneware. What advice would she give her younger self? “Surrounding yourself with people who inspire and encourage you is one of the best ways to learn and be a better you. When I was younger all I wanted to do was sit at a desk and draw, tuning out the world at any chance. In some ways, that helped develop some of the skills I use today but in many ways it made communicating ideas difficult and made exposure terrifying,” Sneed says. “Now, the relationships I have with friends and peers are a huge part of who I am personally and creatively. At times when I feel not so creative or need some good advice, having that support is so important.”

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This article was written by Grace Dobush and originally published in Issue 09 of the Mohawk Maker Quarterly. The Mohawk Maker Quarterly is a vehicle to support a community of like-minded makers. Content focuses on stories of small manufacturers, artisans, printers, designers, and artists who are making their way in the midst of the digital revolution. Learn more about the quarterly here and sign up to receive future printed issues.

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