Hi there! I'm Rachel,
The midwestern, theatre grad, pet obsessed, animal loving, biologist's wife based in Champaign, Illinois.
I put my whole heart into every piece I create, and I adore getting to know my customers and hearing their stories. Above all else, my goal is to always make people feel seen and valued with every interaction and every piece created.
A Few Fun Facts
- I earned my B.S. in Theatre Management in 2012, spent half a decade working in nonprofit disability services, then worked for three years in higher ed where I earned my MBA at the same time. My path has been more of a splatter painting than a linear climb, but I wouldn't be who I am today otherwise.
- I live in a pretty urban area, but I grew up in Long Point, a tiny little village in the middle of a cornfield.
- I ran a half marathon for my 25th birthday just to see if I could, then ate a big basket of funnel cake fries.
- For one holiday season, I started a handmade caramel business that I called Caramel Chameleon. The caramels were a huge hit, but I realized that I didn't want to make the same exact thing in perpetuity. I still happily make my sort-of-famous caramels for family and friends for holidays or thank you gifts, though. And if you drop me a line I'd be happy to give you the recipe! :)
- If I'm asked to do a memorial portrait, there's a good chance I will cry at least once while working on it. Don't get me wrong, I love creating memorial pieces! It's such an honor to be even a small part of that healing journey, but as I study your pet's face and learn their personality through their stories, it becomes impossible not to love them, too! Honestly, I end up falling a little bit for every pet I get to illustrate. ♥
Why Rach Marie Studio?
While creativity has been a lifetime constant for me, the true start of this little venture came about when I was searching for a truly unique Christmas gift for my husband when we were still dating. At that time, we had two dogs and a cat (Millie, featured above, came into our lives soon after ♥), and neither one of us were very excited to get in front of a camera. Combine that with the near impossibility of getting all the fur kids in one frame with us (unless you are a miracle worker, in which case I salute you!), I knew that our best chance at a great family photo would have to be turning to illustration rather than photography. I was lucky enough to be able to commission our friend's son to create a truly stunning portrait for us (his stunning work is featured to the right), but It didn't take long after that for curiosity to take over; I wanted to be able to give other people this feeling, and let them have the truly unique experience of custom art.
Once I had the idea in my head, I was off to the races. It took months and months of practice to truly feel like I was accomplishing what I had set out to, and before I knew it I began offering the service to friends and family, and then opening up for commissions. After that, I branched out into other mediums, styles, and began incorporating fun gifts and mugs independent of portrait work.
All this to say, I have a ton of fun creating every piece that I'm lucky enough to create, but my big 'Why' is that through Rach Marie Studio I get to support my little family while providing totally unique gifts that create moments of true authentic connection for people in a world of disconnect.