Sometimes, people are born creators. Kayla Weber is one of those people. Weber grew up in Lexington, Kentucky, and has always been creating. Whether she was painting on a small easel, coloring with crayons in a coloring book or dabbling with watercolors, she always knew she was good, but never saw herself being an artist.
Alongside her love for painting, she liked to journal and create lists for herself to check off. In that journal, she manifested her entire life by writing out long- and short-term goals, even creating a bucket list. In high school, she wrote that she wanted to be a wedding planner, a teacher and operate a small art business on the side.
Throughout her high school years, Weber knew she was good at art, but she got the chance to take more art and painting classes to really hone in on her craft. She would get good feedback from her teachers and would enter her art in competitions and win. That’s when she knew that this was more than just a hobby, but didn’t think becoming an artist as a career could be possible.
Going into college, Weber decided to major in elementary education. She grew up babysitting and nannying, so that seemed like an easy choice for her. Even when she was taking her traditional teaching classes, she still was taking art classes for pure enjoyment. Her academic advisor noticed this and asked her why she isn’t majoring in art education. Weber was shocked that teaching art was even an option, even if she was the only one in that major.
While this opened doors for her, another reason why she wanted to switch was that she could study abroad. Weber has always loved to travel, and to have the opportunity to study something she was so passionate about in a completely new place was exciting and scary all at the same time. She packed her bags going into the spring semester of her junior year and headed to Italy. While there, she studied with a painter named Melania, who would stand over Weber and the rest of the students as they painted. As the students were working on their projects, Melania would tell Weber that she was painting completely wrong and would critique her constantly. While this was a very scary experience for her, it helped her grow as an artist and got her out of her comfort zone.
Weber was nervous about being able to find a job after graduation because typically, the elementary school art teacher stays at the school for years on end. Thankfully, she was offered two jobs at different schools and had the option of picking what she wanted. Weber was an art teacher for two years at Southern Elementary in Lexington. While she was teaching, her co-workers would ask her to paint commissions. That’s when she really developed her style and started to paint Kentucky-themed landscapes.
As Weber promoted her artwork on social media, created a website and started selling prints, her hobby started to become a business day by day. In May 2018, she resigned from teaching and became a full-time artist. She used her parents' old tobacco barn as her studio for a while, but as she started to get interns and paid employees, she quickly outgrew the space. Weber started talking about a new space shortly after she moved in, but nothing was put into motion until 2020. They broke ground in August of that year, and she was scared. Not only was a global pandemic at its peak, but she had doubts about people wanting to come all the way out to Nicholasville, Kentucky to see the studio, or even if people were even willing to buy artwork anymore. As it was for many, 2020 was a year of stress and uncertainty, but it ended up being a life-changing one for Weber.
"The Studio" officially opened in September 2021, and it was everything Weber had dreamed of since she was young. The Studio has plenty of wall space, an abundance of windows and natural light, a space for retail, an open center to host classes and workshops and even a loft for her future children to play in.
Weber wants to inspire people to go after their dreams even if they don’t think it’s possible. Growing up, she didn’t know that being an artist could be a career because there isn’t a step-by-step guide to becoming a full-time creator. Her goal is for her work to not feel like a job because she is doing something that she’s passionate about every single day, and like herself, she hopes that people can find what inspires them in their everyday lives.