Business-Minded Artist targets Mental Health Awareness

Divy Bose | The Chronicle

Art speaks louder than words.

Mason High School (MHS) offers a multitude of art classes that range anywhere from graphic design to sculpture, allowing students to foster their creation and expression through art. Through taking Digital Image Design, where she learned the mechanics of graphic designing, senior Taylor Jackey has discovered a new interest in starting her business: Take Up Space.

Take Up Space launched in January 2023, when Jackey sat down and dove deeper into her passion for art. She said that her goal in starting a business was to allow mental health to be a topic of discussion through art.

“I came up with Take Up Space so people can talk about their values and morals through their own apparel,” Jackey said. “It’s a space for people to simply feel joy and value, which is what is really important to me.”

Jackey’s decision to start her sticker and apparel business came from her continuous passion in art ever since she stepped foot into her seventh grade art class. She said that it was challenging to learn how to use her tools, such as her first purchased design tool called a Cricut which helps her cut paper and certain fabrics.

“I first tried to design T-shirts for my family vacation when we went to Disney last summer, with printer paper and plastic,” Jackey said. “That didn’t work out well for me, so I decided to purchase my own Cricut and learn how to use actual vinyl to make well made t-shirts.”

As she continued to learn how to create t-shirts, sweatshirts, and even just stickers through trial and error, Jackey designed a shirt that Hope Squad members would be able to wear, including herself. Jackey said that she started really seeing her work come to life when she saw her design as a recognizable t-shirt during Hope Week .

“The T-shirt says “Your feelings are valid” which is my favorite quote and an important message that should be spread around,” Jackey said. “Everyone kept asking me where I got my T-shirt and I got to say that I made it.”

Being able to wear a particular message through the art of apparel is what Jackey hoped to achieve. Jackey said that her goal through her small business is to give people the opportunity to express messages that resonate with one another, without even having to speak it.

“You walk past more people than you talk to,” Jackey said. “Having a message on yourself that people can read is also less intimidating and a way to feel empowered without having that confrontation factor.” 

As apparel items can be expensive, Jackey hoped to make her items more affordable. She gets materials from local fabric stores, using the profits she earns from her friends’ orders as well as orders from her website:

“My sweatshirts range from $15-20 so I can actually make them affordable and appealing to my friends,” Jackey said. “I work just as hard even if I also like to keep my business circle small to conserve my money.”

Jackey focused on learning how to use and design certain logos or images for her company to make her designs more professional and elegant. She said that she learned how to use Adobe Illustrator on her iPad after taking Digital Illustration in school.

“One of the first designs I made from my iPad was for my sister and it was a frog holding up a little sign that says ‘you are perfect as you are’,” Jackey said. “All of my designs are handmade and built from my own design skills.” 

Jackey’s way of self care is through art. She said that building her website during winter break as well as having an outlet during the school year through classes has really benefited herself.

“Art is the thing that I always do when I get home from school,” Jackey said. “I am really cautious of not letting art get to be too stressful or overwhelming for me [to] create products that I am proud of.”

With aspirations of being an art teacher, Jackey plans to continue her passion through education. Jackey said that having this business as a side hustle is also a part of her plan to make extra money to support herself, especially during the summer. 

“The skills that I am building now will not only propel my career, but will also help me get more money in the future,” Jackey said. “I hope that my business grows alongside my career so I can keep making things that have a special meaning to give to people.” 

Graphic by Becca Hunter