Beloved auntie and North Shore pediatric dentist, Keira Ginsberg, has had a lifelong affinity for creating, and for the past five years she’s been sharing her gift in the form of fine art, murals, and custom pieces. “There is something very powerful in completing a piece for a once stranger or a mural that completely changes a space. Working with families to create that special moment for a new baby, a big brother or sister is the greatest honor,” Keira explains. Get to know more about Keira’s creative process, including what to expect when it comes to hiring her for a commissioned project, what pediatric dentist office she works in (shhh don’t ruin the secret lol) and valuable advice for budding entrepreneurs out there. Welcome, Keira.
Hi Keira! Please introduce yourself.
Hello! Nice to meet you all! My name is Keira Ginsberg and I’m originally from the northeast. I grew up about 40 minutes north of New York City and spent my school years in Philadelphia and Boston. Prior to Chicago, I completed my pediatrics residency in Colorado. I have been in the greater Chicago area, setting down new roots, for just over two years. I currently live in Bucktown and commute to the North Shore for work. While I don’t currently have my own children, I do spend my days discussing Spiderman, Frozen, Bluey and Peppa! I’m also the honorary aunt to my five little cousins and my best friends’ kiddos (ages 1 month- 5 years).
Being an auntie is the best, obvi! Please introduce your painting and mural business, Keiragizangallery.
My business is keiragizangallery. You can find me at keiragizang.com, on instagram @keiragizangallery or via my etsy shop @keiragizangallery. I work in most mediums and sizes and love to cross over between fine art, murals, and custom pieces. My favorite works include larger abstract pieces, realism, and detailed, whimsical murals. I enjoy working commission-based and creating custom works. I also love portraits and blurring the line between the realistic and colorful with simple or abstract color play. There is something very powerful in completing a piece for a once stranger or a mural that completely changes a space. Working with families to create that special moment for a new baby, a big brother or sister is the greatest honor!
While I’ve been painting for decades, my business has been a work-in-progress passion project for the past 5 or so years. I’m excited to truly grow and become more involved in our community.
You have a career in Pediatric Dentistry. Please tell us more about that.
I love painting and I love being a pediatric dentist. I work as a pediatric dentist in the greater Chicago area at City Kids Dental. In both fields, I use aesthetics and my hands-on abilities with creativity and play. Like my art clients, who trust me with their vision, my patients put their trust in me to care for their child as my own. This is most important to me – relationships with my families that not only establish good, healthy and individualized habits but keep visits fun! The most special part of my job is watching a fearful patient build their confidence, comfort, and trust while having fun. Both art and pediatric dentistry are separate but parallel worlds that uniquely define me.
When and how did you first get introduced to murals? (ie. family history, schooling, mentors, etc)
Art has been a part of my life since I can remember. As a preschooler, I would sit in the corner and color. My parents have stacks of drawings and I would spend my weekends creating portraits of the covers of my favorite CD and tape albums, pop stars, and athletes. I was definitely a “craft kid” and our basement was covered in every last bead, dough, or glitter glue. I was self-taught until college where I minored in fine art and was introduced to oils and the magic of color. I focused in oil painting, creating large realistic and abstract works that were acknowledged at various exhibitions and award shows at my undergraduate university. I was fascinated by the city mural programs around my college in Philadelphia and what a mural could mean to a community.
My aunt, a now retired art teacher, would create murals for our bedrooms growing up. My mural was my own magical world and made my bedroom special and unique. It wasn’t until dental school, when based on a long forgotten college promise, I created a mural for my best friend’s first born. This mural gave life to her and her husband’s shared childhood memories and created the love, warmth, and memories they wished for their daughter to experience every morning and night. I fell in love with this process and I love that I can offer this to my clients now too.
How long does it typically take to complete a mural?
This varies and depends on the size and amount of detail required. Generally speaking, I like to break large paintings and murals up into three or so sessions. A general outline, the body of the work, and the final details. It’s important to allow for dry time in addition to “time away” from a piece to return and take on a fresh perspective to make needed adjustments. It’s also important that my clients are part of the process. Check-ins to make sure our vision remains aligned are vital. A smaller mural may take 2-5 hours with larger murals 6-20+ hours in total. I like to complete most at home murals within 2-3 weekends, spaced out or condensed within the timeframe that works best for my clients. For smaller pieces, this takes anywhere from 1-3 days. For most murals, I mix my own color palettes and use wall paint, which helps cost and guarantees longevity. For smaller works, I work with acrylics, watercolors, ink, and oil.
What was the inspiration behind forming your own business as opposed to working for someone?
Art has always been personal. I think it’s important to hold onto that sense of ownership and direction. The autonomy assists in balancing my personal life and dental career while working around my client’s needs. A business is always going to evolve and change- having your own business allows this to evolve in tandem with you. There is a push/pull and constant need for self-evaluation, reflection and growth. This is an important factor when it comes to one’s personal and professional evolution.
I come from a creative family but being able to build out on my own what I once used to keep as a private hobby, is extremely fulfilling and motivating. I love the process of collaborating to make someone’s vision come to life and to create a new home around a space or piece.
How are you dealing with the work/life balance?
I’ll get back to you on this (ha!). But truly, there’s always going to be a give and take. I’m naturally disciplined and crave the independence of my own routine. I gain energy from creating my own schedule. Having your own business allows you to find new engagement. It not only breaks up your typical routine but forces you to take it on with a fresh perspective. It also takes attention and commitment. Like most things, not excluding groceries or laundry, some days this goes well and others less so. I recently heard one of my favorite recent nuggets of advice on a podcast. This entrepreneur felt complete when he was looking at his upcoming week on his calendar and there was an even color spread for each part of his life – work, personal, creativity, and self-care. While not always attainable, I feel grounded keeping this in mind.
Any advice for future entrepreneurs out there?
It’s important to always keep going. To start even if you don’t know how to begin or even when each small task feels overwhelming. I say this from experience. Stay vulnerable with others and yourself throughout the process. Create goals and small tasks but don’t become blinded by an image of you or your business. Don’t become so hyper-focused on perfection that you hold back from what seems to fall into place. You can’t do everything, but you can definitely do what you are doing well and what you may be doing on a daily basis can change- that’s ok. Balance a schedule and routine with flexibility and self-care- whatever that means to you. Some days you need to be doing non-stop while others require the opposite. Acknowledging what days call for what and being honest with yourself takes just as much space and work!
What’s on the horizon for you?
A lot is left to be seen but I’m really excited for what is next. I want to grow my painting business – focusing on murals specialized to my clients- local moms and dads, say hello!- while also growing my fine art and smaller, custom paintings. I hope to grow into a larger studio space and, who knows, maybe some galleries down the road! I think small goals are important to inspire and nurture growth without burnout. I hope to develop my artistic identity and what this means to my families as I continue my professional growth and contributions in the community.
Who would you like to thank for making the formation of your business or non-profit possible and why?
I am so lucky to have the most supportive family and friends across the country. If it weren’t for the encouragement from my close friends, parents, and sister I wouldn’t have the confidence to put my work out there. I also regularly depend on their help when it comes to the extra hands with marketing etc. and advice. Painting remains personal for me. It allows me an outlet and meditative process that enables creativity and space. But creating for once strangers and becoming connected to the community through art encourages me to keep creating. To gratefully put my name and work out there.