It is an awe-inspiring experience to listen to someone who has truly found themselves speak about their life’s work. Sitting across from Sharlene Bozeman, you know unequivocally that she has found her calling, and it brings her such joy and satisfaction. To hear her speak about her artwork and her charity work, it is clear that she loves what she does and is filled with so much passion. This self-discovery was not without struggle, but when ink met paper, her life changed forever.
Sharlene Bozeman: A Journey of Self-Discovery
A bit of a nomad in her youth, Sharlene Bozeman was born in Staten Island, New York, but moved to Tennessee and later Florida, where she attended high school. It was here in Florida that her quest to find her passion began. Volunteering for her church, she was a praise a worship leader for several years in her mid-twenties. Her role in the church was her creative outlet at the time. She enjoyed writing puppet plays for the children and singing to the congregation several times a week with the praise and worship team. Despite her happiness working with the church, Sharlene was always searching for what she wanted her career to be. Over the years, she held jobs in the food service industry and was an assistant in fields like orthodontics, administration, and photography. In addition to trying her hand in several different areas, she also took classes on occupational exploration and tried several personality tests, all the while seeking an answer to her elusive question.
It was then in 1999 that Sharlene moved to Houston, which she now considers her real home. Shortly after moving to Houston she began working at Star Furniture. She instantly took a liking to the job, thoroughly enjoying putting colors together and helping customers design rooms. From there she continued working at other home building companies over the years, enjoying the creative and social aspects of the positions. Unfortunately, the sense of belonging she first felt in this industry did not last forever. She was working so hard to succeed, keeping late hours signing contracts, leaving dinner half way through to meet clients, and eventually it just wore down on her. She finally crashed and made the decision to choose her well-being over money. For the next several years Sharlene would battle her poor health and anxiety.
Sharlene Bozeman: Artist
Everything changed after her friend took her to an art class three years ago as a Christmas gift. Though Sharlene’s father had been a cartoonist and architectural draftsman, growing up, she had never thought her drawing to be very impressive. Because of that, she had never even considered taking an art class before. As it turns out, she had a natural instinct and quickly started adding her style into the scenery paintings they worked on in class In the corporate world, people owned her, but in art, she was finally free.
Eventually, Sharlene began playing around with different mediums, and when she tried ink she fell in love. Her favorite thing about her medium of choice is the vibrancy the ink affords the colors. She chooses not to dilute them, keeping the palette crisp and bold. Ink is not easily controlled, and she appreciates the way the colors breathe and bleed into one another, adding to the abstractness of her works. Her experience with interior design grants her the ability to create the perfect piece for any space. She will even bring various works to interested buyer’s homes so they can see it on their walls before making a decision.
Sharlene’s success has mainly been achieved by word-of-mouth and recommendations. The first piece she ever made was commissioned by the same friend who introduced her to art in the first place. From there other friends and family members lined up, wanting one of her beautiful pieces for themselves. A favorite type of event that she now attends frequently are art happy hours. Urban Eats was the first business to host one for her, and they even created specialty cocktails inspired by her pieces. From there her popularity grew to include other venues and additional happy hours organized by businesses and individuals. She was recently even selected to show her work at the Bayou City Art Festival.
Even though she finds herself working constantly again, that burnt-out feeling from her past is gone.
I love it so much, and it brings me such peace and such joy that I know that’s transferred to them. That they feel it too and that’s the biggest reward is to see people experience and be moved by a piece like I am. I feel like I wanted to create this joyful melody in their life and their heart.
When you love what you do, it is never truly work. She attributes this significant difference to the fact that she is not having to please one particular person. She knows her art will speak to someone, and she hopes that her pieces evoke feelings of love in those who buy them. Sharlene Bozeman also turns portions of her art into a digital image the size of a scarf and has them sent off to be printed on silk chiffon. The scarves are hand hemmed and hand sewn, allowing fans of her work to wear a piece of art around town.
Sharlene Bozeman: Charity From the Heart
A humanitarian at heart, Sharlene has always valued compassion for others and spent her time volunteering. One organization that is dear to her heart is Trauma to Triumph; a program helping create a village of tiny houses for veterans with PTSD. The program is having a Gala November 18th called Boots to Ballgowns to help fund raise for the project.
Another project that Sharlene Bozeman is spearheading herself is her Compassion Blankets. She has always enjoyed visiting nursing homes to spend time with those in their care. Many times the residents don’t have a family of their own that visit, so there is an air of loneliness there. Sharlene’s Compassion Blankets strive to wrap these seniors in love, so they always know someone cares about them.
Her advice to those who are struggling, wandering, or lost:
Try something different; step out of the box and try something different and know that it’s not too late, that it can happen for them just like it happened for me. It’s so amazing. We don’t know what it is, so if we don’t try something different we’ll never find it. People think like I thought, that I had no talent. Why would I even try art? But it was presented to me, and I said yes to it even though it was something that I felt I was no good at, and it blossomed into this. So don’t limit yourself by what you think you would be good at because you really don’t know. You could be amazing and have this hidden talent that you didn’t know about like me.
Check out Sharlene’s website for unique features like her video blog, which follows her through her journey as an artist and her various projects. She also accepts donations through her website for those who would like to contribute to the Compassion Blankets cause.