Makena DeGolier can’t keep a smile off her face. The 21-year-old Western student is an ambitious artist overflowing with happiness and passion she channels into her creations.
DeGolier launched her own website in August to showcase and sell her art. Due to the ease of creating multiple prints, her work consists mainly of ink pen and watercolor, with plans to expand to other mediums soon, such as oil painting.
“Just hearing comments and positive feedback about [the website] is just really reassuring that I’m doing the right thing,” DeGolier said. “I’m getting my art out there.”
DeGolier, a Bellingham native, has been an artist as long as she can remember. She would always do little projects with her family and art was her favorite part of school when she was younger.
“I just remember going through school and I would be doodling on my paper,” DeGolier said. “Eventually I got some sketchbooks and different mediums, and it just grew from there.”
DeGolier’s mother, Dorothy, remembered how her mother-in-law played a role in sparking her daughter’s interest in art.
“Her grandma would always – instead of putting them in front of a TV show – would always have a little art project,” Dorothy said.
Dorothy can still recall the first time she realized her daughter was truly an artist. With encouragement from her grandmother, an 8-year-old DeGolier drew a large, vintage egg beater on butcher paper. Although it’s been years, Dorothy still has that drawing and hopes to eventually have it framed.
“Eventually I got some sketchbooks and different mediums, and it just grew from there.”
As friends and family are often her source of inspiration, DeGolier similarly turns around and inspires them with her art and drive to create.
“It makes me happy that she’s following her passion,” said Alexa Harrington, DeGolier’s longtime friend. “It makes me want to do better.”
She documents her creative process with friends on Snapchat by posting her current projects and has a public Instagram page that’s linked on her website.
Harrington said DeGolier has always been the artistic friend, and she’s come a long way from where she began with her art.
“She puts so much work and effort into the website,” Harrington said. “She really cares about everything she does.”
Originally, DeGolier started putting her work on Etsy.com, a popular website geared toward selling handmade items. Her Etsy shop, however, didn’t succeed as anticipated. DeGolier had a vision of a cohesive and customizable platform where she could express herself, inspire others and share her art. After consulting with her like-minded and art-oriented friends, she decided to launch her own website.
DeGolier began her career at Western as a hopeful graphic design major, but soon realized art needed to be kept as her therapeutic outlet. As her passions for human rights, the environment and animals grew, pursuing art as a career became less important. Expecting to graduate in the spring of 2017, DeGolier is an environmental studies major and international studies minor who aspires to work with nonprofit organizations that coincide with those passions.
Even though she decided to step away from art as a career choice, incorporating it into her pursuits of activism will likely remain.
In the meantime, DeGolier wants her website to be a source of inspiration for others — her personal mantra to never stop creating is even a hashtag on her page.
“If you’re a budding artist, just go after it. Always go after it, and always keep creating,” DeGolier said with her genuine smile growing bigger. “If you know that you’re artistic and you know you have that capability, then just go after it.”
You can view DeGolier’s website at www.makenadegolier.com.