Amy Sullivan graduated with a degree in law, and she was top of her class. She obtained a high-end job in Atlanta, Georgia as a corporate real estate lawyer after graduation and got “swept away into corporate America.”
As years went by, she felt like she was moving further and further away from what she wanted to do in life. She felt like she was not herself anymore; she didn’t feel like the “goofy, artistic” person she was.
It was during the recession, when real estate began slowing down, that she began to reflect on herself and that life she was living. She attended therapy sessions to find help in deciding on what she should do. At the time, she knew she wanted to do something outside of a big law firm, whether that be a non-law job or a law job in a small town.
Sullivan eventually quit her job as a real estate lawyer, after giving a month’s notice, because she knew the people around her “weren’t [her] people.”
“I needed to go figure out who my people were,” Sullivan said. She needed to find out “what environment would be the best environment for [her].”
Sullivan took a sabbatical in Ireland where she figured out her plans on opening a folk art shop — originally, she planned on opening an art and coffee shop, which she had planned on calling ‘Café Art.’ Instead, she decided to open up a folk art shop because there was not enough money in the coffee business.
In April 2016, Sullivan opened her art shop, The Pig and The Poppy, in the square in Dahlonega, Georgia. Her mother was inspiration for her decision to dive into the world of folk art. Her mother, Liz Sullivan, is an established folk artist in Asheville, North Carolina, and pieces of her art can be seen at The Pig and The Poppy.
Sullivan finds inspiration for her artwork within the community around her. She typically draws two-dimensional animals, such as pigs and roosters. An animal that makes frequent reappearances in her artwork is Earl, her 16-year-old tabby cat. Earl is inspiration for many of Sullivan’s folk art pieces.
In September 2018, Sullivan’s shop, The Pig and The Poppy, moved into Canvas and Cork, a wine tasting room and art gallery, located on North Meaders Street in Dahlonega. She now spends most of her time in her studio, painting, and enjoying wine in her pink pig-themed wine glass.
Caitlin Jett is a senior majoring in journalism in the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Georgia. This story was produced during the 14th Annual Woodall Weekend Workshop in Dahlonega, Georgia.
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