Corporate World v World of Art
I Had A Dream Beyond the Art of Law
AJ Lawson began with a lot of anonymity, little expectation and a dream to build something rewarding.
I founded AJ Lawson long before I knew what it was or could be. When I say ‘I’, I mean me, Brittany Afif, the founder of AJ Lawson. ‘I’ am a lawyer by profession and have been practicing for over three years. Although I love helping people as a lawyer, I was fed up with many of the negative perceptions that people have of lawyers as I am definitely not an image of those perceptions.
I am a lawyer with a passion for creativity and love to get my hands dirty in anything creative. I have had many ideas over the years for how to potentially get out of the corporate world, including creating a business for grazing platters to manufacturing a protein ice-cream brand. Unfortunately, none of these ideas ever seemed to stick. They remained dreams that were just out of reach.
In the midst of COVID-19, a beautiful friend and colleague of mine (“My Beautiful Friend and Colleague”) was in need of artwork for her newly renovated home and was looking at a piece that she loved by a well-known artist but couldn’t afford it. And so we decided to try and create a painting to be displayed in her home. We chose a weekend and went out to buy some art supplies in the morning. We had no idea what to use to paint this artwork but took a guess with the types of brushes and surface we needed. We spent the afternoon painting in the sun unsure of how this was going to work out, not having picked up a paintbrush since we were kids. I was even scared to pick up the paintbrush for fear of ruining the piece. Although the artwork didn’t work out too well, the experience was something I was searching for for some time.
Months later, this time huddled in a small garage with a portable heater, I let loose with the paintbrush and created my own individual piece. This was the day that I created the artwork ‘Boardwalk’ which is now available for sale on www.ajlawson.com.au. I spent the whole time constantly asking my husband (who was spectating) questions like ‘should I put this here’, ‘should I add something here?’ etc. The more and more I painted, the more I enjoyed it.
I kept painting since then by trying to recreate other artworks I found on Pinterest to develop my drawing skills. I would do this on the couch whilst watching Netflix every night. These were extremely raw paintings and nothing I would ever like to reveal but found that practice definitely does make perfect…well kind of.
I am completely self-taught. I have attempted to watch ‘how to’ videos but would lose interest very quickly.
One day, I wondered how many others out there had a passion for art. As I searched artists on Instagram and target advertising began showing me more and more of the art world, I realised that there were many more artists trying to share their talents than I ever imagined. There was a whole new world out there that I had yet to explore. It was then that I wanted to create a platform to support these artists, including myself. I proposed the idea of creating an online art agency to and with My Beautiful Friend and Colleague in order to do just that, to which My Beautiful Friend and Colleague said yes and expressed so much excitement towards. I then started setting up the business and online platforms. This is where it actually began.
In the initial stages of setting up AJ Lawson, I was hesitant to publicise my identity but as any successful businessperson would attest, that is almost impossible and unnecessary. During the development stages of AJ Lawson, I was in the midst of applying to become a councillor in my local council and ran a brief but very tiring campaign. This experience taught me a lot and most importantly it helped me become accustom to public exposure. Never in my dreams would I have thought that I would write about myself or my beliefs and values to the world leaving myself open to criticism, but the experience was surprisingly rejuvenating and refreshing.
Now that I have given you a little insight into myself, my brand and the experiences that have gotten me to where I am today, I think it is a good time to explain the illusive meaning behind the name ‘AJ Lawson’. A little secret of mine is that I do a lot of thinking whilst taking long showers and like many other ideas I have, the name AJ Lawson was assembled there. The ‘A’ is the first letter of My Beautiful Friend and Colleague’s middle name, Angele, and the ‘J’ is the first letter of my middle name, Jo. After deciding on these two letters, I wanted to incorporate the word ‘law’ somehow being the profession that we both chose to specialise in. Immediately, the word ‘Lawson’ came to mind to complete the name that was intended to conceal who was behind the business.
Now you are probably wondering what happened to My Beautiful Friend and Colleague. Although she is not involved in AJ Lawson, she is still supporting me in everything I do and still inspires me to be the person I want to be.
If you have not gathered as much already, I love what AJ Lawson represents and the journey it has taken me on. My mission for AJ Lawson is to support Australian artists who have a driving passion to create and convey their visions in unique ways. The reward is in the knowledge that with AJ Lawson, my love of art and that of the Australian artists that I come across is realised. I have had opportunities through AJ Lawson to speak with many artists, some who were just starting out trying to make their mark and some who have been lucky enough to find their niche, all of whom have left a mark on me. I am very honoured to note that some of these amazing artists are featured on my website where you can check out their stories and their artworks.
The challenge for me at the moment is choosing between the corporate world and the world of art. Don’t get me wrong, juggling my 9 to 5 job with a start-up business has been challenging but I wouldn’t trade it in for the world and hope to continue this until I am ready to let go. The Law, the one that governs our every move and subconscious decision making, is truly an artform but not one that offers nearly as much comfort, beauty or freedom than that of creative arts. The arts are my passion and the hope is that I can bring that passion to life through my creative journey.
I still don’t know where AJ Lawson will end up but I do know that if I continue to follow my own journey, it will become more than I ever expected.
Stay tuned for more insights into AJ Lawson