What Lifts You: Empowering Entrepreneurs at SXSW

As the official technology partner at the Fast Company Grill during SXSW Interactive 2017, Samsung NEXT hosted an interactive space for recharging, refueling and engaging with innovative thinkers inside the Fast Company Grill. Samsung NEXT invited artist Kelsey Montague to continue her series #WhatLiftsYou, and offer an uplifting pair of wings and a wall of encouragement to those passing through.

We spoke with Montague about her mural series and her journey as an entrepreneur.

“Never give up. Hustle hard. Try everything and when [opportunity] hits, figure out how to grow it.”

Artist Kelsey Montague

Kelsey Montague’s large scale mural series #WhatLiftsYou explores the intersection of public art, interactive art and social media–all with a message of hope.

Describing herself as a lifelong artist, Montague fell in love with street art while studying in London. After moving to LA and New York, Montague painted her very first mural in New York City: a larger-than-life pair of wings. “I was lucky to get a chance to create a street art piece on a rotating art wall in Nolita, New York. That wall changed my life.”

Montague’s wings became a viral sensation when musician Taylor Swift posed in front of it and posted it on her social media accounts. Since then, #WhatLiftsYou project has traveled from coast to coast, documented by thousands of shared social media posts from around the globe.

Montague has transformed her artistry into a business with her sister, Courtney Montague. “The biggest challenge really has been turning my passion for art into a sustainable business. We’ve learned a lot about each other–my sister loves the details involved in making a project work,” said Montague. Dividing creative visioning and planning required to make projects possible, the two sisters are traveling the world to create art for an increasingly connected world.

“Samsung NEXT is opening new doors for innovators around the world. I really believe that technology, like art, has the power to change the world for good.”

Montague’s visions is to use art to create positive dialogue on social media. “I want to change the dialogue,” said the artist. “The stories people send me after they stand with my art lifts me. I’ve heard from so many people around the world about what inspires them.”

“My murals specifically invite people into a piece and then invite [them] to share their experience online. I believe that art should not be separated from the human experience. Instead the human experience should have a hand in creating the art itself,” explained Montague.

See more of Kelsey Montague’s art and learn more about how Samsung NEXT partners with innovators around the world.

Feature photo credit: Fast Company