A marriage of styles

The pandemic was a time for taking stock of careers and for pursuing new directions professionally. 

This was not quite the case for my husband, Kevin Murphy, and me. We officially launched Murphy Wood Art, our art and woodworking business, right as everyone’s world changed in March 2020, but we had been building towards that venture for a while.

The pandemic’s shift in time demands allowed us to build our new business with a more focused fervor.

Sign up to The Irish Echo Newsletter

Sign up today to get daily, up-to-date news and views from Irish America.

Before our new beginning, Kevin had been a woodworking hobbyist for some years, while I’m a lifelong art enthusiast. Then, I saw the opportunity to expand my craft in a unique way. 

As the pandemic unfolded, we continued exploring the possibilities while juggling the demands of our children, a household, and careers.  

We collaborated on pieces while also pursuing our own individual styles and mediums. 

Since we initially followed in the footsteps of our families, a long line of nurses, teachers, police officers, and firefighters, running an art business was totally new to us, and we had to figure out much of it on our own. 

The learning curve was intense, but so was our determination to make it work. 

As a married couple, we were used to working together, but our collaborative efforts were characterized by carpools, sporting events, recitals, and keeping our proverbial heads above water while working and raising our family.  Murphy Wood Art required a type of partnership that was somewhat new to us.  

While I worked with an expanding lineup of mediums including woodburning, acrylic, and resin to create mostly nature-inspired and Celtic artwork, Kevin created custom flags, signs, and mountain art. For one of his custom-order flags, he needed a hand-painted Sun of May for the Argentinian section.  I provided the artwork, and that was one of our first collaborations. We often create independently, but we also fuse our complementary styles to create unique artwork.

Each year, we strive to expand our client offerings and extend the reach of our business.  Early on, we launched a fully shoppable e-commerce website - not a small feat for two novice technophobes.   The next year, we decided to showcase our pieces in person at a series of street fairs where we met many of our clients and received invaluable feedback in a face to face setting.    This past year, we again stretched ourselves when we displayed our work in a month-long solo exhibit at the Pearl River Public Library.   This recent opportunity allowed us to showcase our work in a public space to a new audience.  At the culminating reception, our family, clients, and friends showed up for us literally and figuratively. Since then, we have developed offerings to include graphic art for individuals and local businesses. 

 Moments of doubt and frustration are abundant when running a business, but working in a creative field brings its own pressures.  We celebrate each year that we weather challenges and enjoy working together towards our goals.   Thankfully, the increased press exposure from news outlets, along with our clients’ referrals, has allowed us to bring our work and story to a wider audience.  The last few years have taught us that little is predictable, so for now, we’ll just savor the opportunity to create art and continue to bring joy and exemplary service to others.  

 To see our work and read more about us, you can visit our site at www.MurphyWoodArt.com and follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok @MurphyWoodArt.