Today, we’re sharing with you the story of Stephanie Roberts — a pharmacist, artist + proud mom who also happens to be an Instagram art-selling sensation. No really, her pieces sell out in minutes.
After practicing pharmacy for 14 years, Stephanie made the leap of faith in 2019 to focus on art full-time. “I could get so emotional talking about it because I’m living out my dream. Like, that’s insane,” she said.
Let’s take a peek into her colorful world.
Give us a little bit of background.
I was born and raised in Eastern Kentucky, in Prestonsburg. I went to pharmacy school in Virginia and then moved back to Lexington afterward + that’s where we’ve [she and her husband] been ever since.
So tell us about your two loves — art + pharmacy.
I’ve always done art. That’s what I wanted to grow up and be — an artist. But I also love pharmacy. I’ve been a pharmacist at UK for almost 10 years. When I decided to make the jump to art full-time, I really had to weigh whether I wanted to leave it or not, because it’s such a great job. But, art has always been the number one love.
Your art is so bright + unique, how did you decide on the pills?
This is going to sound funny, but at the pharmacy, when we dump pills out to count, oftentimes we’ll say to each other ‘how cute + colorful’ the pills are. My art features mostly all over-the-counter pills — not prescription. The tablets are real over-the-counter pills. And the capsules, they are usually empty capsules that you buy on the internet, and some I hand fill with glitter and sprinkles.
Let’s talk about the switch to art full-time.
When I got into epoxy resin, yeah, that’s when it kind of took off, probably around 2017 or 2018. But I left the pharmacy in 2019, six months before the pandemic. When I first started, it was just coasters, but my pictures would get shared, and it just grew + grew. But there was one account, Things I Bought and Liked, when she shared about my art, I gained 5,000 followers overnight and it just grew from there.
Fun fact: Stephanie now has ~46,000 followers.
How long does it take to make a piece?
I do them over weeks and I’m working on a few projects at once because it’s layers and layers of resin. It’s a process — you have to pick the colors, line everything up, and let each layer cure. Each layer can take up to 12 hours to set before you work on the next layer.
How do you come up with your ideas?
Whenever customers ask me to do something different, it always makes me branch out. For instance, the pill lips, they were inspired by a dermatologist who asked me to put Botox bottles, syringes, and stuff into some lips. So I made the mold for it and then I did it with pills too. I love it.
What are some cool pieces you’ve worked on?
I’ve had people who commissioned to use their medications from like a transplant that they had. That was really special. Somebody just contacted me that is on chemo + pills that are part of their regimen. And she’s said there are pills that are going to be leftover, so that’s really special. I’ve done an IVF piece for somebody that has like all the syringes and stuff, it’s really sweet. Like, if it has a vial or something to it, we could make art out of it.
What’s it like to work with epoxy resin?
I use epoxy resin, and it began being used to waterproof the decks on boats. But what I use, it’s two equal parts of liquid mixed together into a measuring cup. After a certain amount of time it’s going to start cooling, and you don’t want it cold because you’re going to get a lot more bubbles. But once I pour it, I use a heat gun to get the bubbles out.
What’s next for you?
Once we started doing this full-time, I still felt like, ‘Can this be forever? Can this last?’ And yeah, I still have like 20 more ideas. We are building a studio on our property. I want to have space, besides my basement, for my kids to be creative and for them to just know, that everything is possible.