Interview with artist Donna Fuentes-Postma

Donna Fuentes-Postma is an artist, cat lover, and start up business owner of Walk the Cats Art Studio. She makes customized digital portraits and pet illustrations. Donna comes from the Philippines, but lives in The Netherlands. Her vision is to have more Filipino artists doing and sustaining what they are passionate about.

Donna, tell us about yourself!

I’m an artist, a cat lover, and a start up business owner of Walk the Cats Art Studio. I make customized and detailed digital portraits of people and pets. I’m from the Philippines, and I live in The Netherlands.

Before migrating, I was a traditional artist, a sports and production show events specialist, a triathlete, and a marathoner in Manila. When I came to The Netherlands in 2019, I had to unlearn almost everything, discover new skills, and rediscover talents.

Coming from a tropical country, I hardly went out of the house because of the cold. And then we adopted a cat. I dreaded the winter, but I really wanted to make sure that the cat would know its way home when he was ready to go out on his own. So I walked him day and night for months. And then I realized that I had started to adjust to the weather and that I was also familiarizing myself with the neighborhood.

“Walk the Cats” became a reminder to myself that any lack of motivation or penchant for procrastination can be effectively managed by adding more value to the process and to the goal.

For example, I was procrastinating about studying the Dutch language. With fingers crossed, I clicked “register” for the integration exam, giving myself only a month to study. Deadlines can be stressful, but meeting them can be the beginning of something better.

Now I want to go back to running, but I find all the excuses not to train. So I signed up for a half marathon and announced it on social media. Now I consistently train, because pride and dignity for me are as important as my health. 😁

Donna, how did you get started as an artist?

I got into the arts because of my dad who was a painter, composer, and a bonsai artist.

Drawing and painting were just hobbies until university days when I had to do most of our batch’s stage backdrop designs for a theater arts course. Then I knew I was an artist.

My love for the arts was set aside when I began working as an events manager. Now that I’m in a new country, I’m rediscovering talents and skills that can be very useful. I’ve started learning about digital arts.

My vision for Walk the Cats is to have more Filipino artists doing and sustaining what they are passionate about.

I believe so much in Filipino artists, but unfortunately, not all artists know how to sell, or how to market their products and talents. That is something I’m working to build.

What do you love about your work?

I love that my work is flexible. I can do it anytime and anywhere. It gives me balance and it keeps me sane.

I love that art is universal. Therefore it is limitless.

Lastly, I love that I can help other Filipino artists, and even in small amounts, we can support the community cats association in the Philippines, Cats of Arezzo Place.

What challenges have you had while developing your art business? How did you overcome them?

I’m still new as an online business owner. The digital platform is ever changing, ever growing, and I am expected to do the same. Right now, I’m learning more by exposing myself to communities of start-up business owners. I’m also trying to update myself with current technologies and apps such as Canva.

As a small business owner, and with handcrafted artwork at that, time is of the most value to me. If something can be done faster, which can lead to more productivity, then I don’t think twice about going for that advantage.

How was the process of taking your business online?

I used to sell on Etsy, but I realized that it wasn’t the right platform for me because the Etsy market is for people looking for cheaper prices. So I invested more time on Instagram, in growing followers who are authentic and would be willing to spend money on my art because of the quality.

I started joining startup business communities like Kamila Penguin Academy. There, I’m learning best practices and strategies such as pricing for small businesses.

What made you choose Canvy app for displaying your work?

Canvy app is very easy to use. There's a wide range of rooms to choose from, the furniture colors can be changed, and the styles of the walls and frames can be changed.

Time is the most important thing for me, and Canvy makes my work easier, faster, and it makes my art look more professional.

What do you love about Canvy?

Before Canvy, I used to search for frame mockups from Pinterest or Google images. I had to make sure that they weren’t copyrighted before using them. Then I had to edit my artwork into those mockups using Photoshop. I wasted so much time and energy! With Canvy, I just have to upload my artwork, choose the rooms, and adjust the styles and colors.

Aside from making work easier and faster, Canvy has helped me feel proud to have my own website. When people come to my site, I’m confident that they’re seeing a higher level of digital illustration.

The challenge of digital illustration is that clients don’t appreciate it very much because they think it’s only for digital platforms — for their mobile phones and other gadgets. But with Canvy, I can show them visually how printed digital illustrations will look in their home.

What’s coming up next in your business?

This year, I’m excited to open up more categories of illustration. Building on portraits and paw-rtraits (pet portraits), I’ll now be offering illustrations of people doing what they love, such as sports and hobbies, and their passions that have become businesses.

Why do you do what you do?

Life’s too short not to spend time on things that make us happy. I’m now in my late 30s, and I believe this is the second half of my life. I want to do more of what defines me as a person.

Find Donna Fuentes-Postma and Walk the Cats Art Studio here: