Aimie-Sarah Carstensen-Henze, Co-Founder of Artnight
Many restaurants are empty during the week, many people want to relax doing something creative after work - and people are looking for new ways to meet new people, especially in cities. With her company ArtNight, Aimie and her co-founder David are addressing these issues all at once, creating entertainment magic that is now expanding all over Europe.
In our series Time For Creative Souls, we interview interesting and inspiring personalities, who all have in common that they are extremely creative and talented. They are all people with their own view on the world and together we invite you into their universe.
Aimie-Sarah had been working for some bigger companies before she got started as the co-founder of ArtNight together with David Neisinger. The idea: Creating events where artists show people how to paint, all while meeting new friends and discovering new restaurants, bars or other locations. We talked with Aimie about how the two founders got started and what are their new plans.
Dear Aimie, how did you and your co-founder come up with the idea to found ArtNight?
David went to the United States in 2016 to visit his girlfriend. He wanted to surprise her and was looking for a date idea. So he found “Paint and Sip”. This was an art event where an artist shows a group of participants how to create your own masterpiece within two hours. People there were so relaxed painting together. David was surprised about that he actually could paint and found his hidden talent. He got to know lots of new interesting people and it was just a fun evening. Back in Germany he told me about his evening and all I thought was: “Let’s do this!” We were both thinking : Europe needs this type of event too, full of fun and creativity! So we started ArtNight in Germany.
How did you get started after having the idea?
It was a really hard beginning. We started ArtNight in autumn 2016. It was just David and me at first. The biggest challenge was to convince people about an idea which was probably completely new for them. At first, we needed to find artists. Secondly, we needed to tell the world about our idea. Berlin was the first city where we get started. We printed flyers and sent them all over Berlin in order to get some word of mouth, particularly to convince some artists to join us and to tell Berlin that there is an great art event in their city. We were overwhelmed about all the positive feedback we got!
The biggest challenge was to convince people about an idea which was probably completely new for them.
What is the concept of the art nights?
You can purchase a ticket online and you can also choose online which motive you would like to paint on your ArtNight. The artist is showing step by step how to create your own artwork within two hours. The painting techniques are made so easy that even beginners can join such an art event without needing any knowledge of painting. It is more about having fun, getting to know great people from your town and have a great evening!
How do you scout the artists that host the art nights?
We’re lucky to have a certain reputation right now, so we get spontaneous candidatures via our website. Otherwise, our talented HR Director Linda is doing marvels.
How is your day divided between creative projects and more administrative tasks for the company?
I am actually doing more strategic tasks at the moment but I am going to ArtNights to have some creativity time. It is always good to spend some time off after doing all the administrative work and to get some new energy.
I just learned that founding your own business takes time and believing in yourself and in your idea is the most important thing. I mean, when you are not believing, why should others?
What did you learn in the course of founding the business that you didn’t expect before?
Of course founding your own business is always a big challenge. You never know if you succeed or just fail. We worked hard and till late at night. David and me believed in our idea and we were very convinced that ArtNight is a concept which Europe needs. But we could not be sure if people think it is an great idea or not. So this was our biggest risk. We did not expect that people are that much convinced as we are. I just learned that founding your own business takes time and believing in yourself and in your idea is the most important thing. I mean, when you are not believing, why should others?
You took part in the German version of the TV show Shark Tank. Were there any surprises or outcomes you didn’t anticipate?
David and me were very nervous on that day and especially when the door opens to see the five jurors. We did not even know that Dr. Georg Kofler replace Judith Williams because she was sick on that day. We never expected that we could convince two out of four and could not be happier. Dr. Georg Kofler suggested a deal and we just could not be believe that! He´s a great partner to work with, as well as our other investors.
What are current challenges in your company?
Currently we’re expanding to Europe, which is a big challenge as we have to deal with multiple languages and legislations. And as always, a quickly expanding team is always interesting to manage.
What are the next steps for ArtNight?
We are expanding in Europe at the moment and already expanded into Austria and Switzerland. Moreover, we are thinking about more countries to spread our idea and our concept. We've got a couple of countries planned already, and we can't wait to expand there now! Next year we'll also expand into new products. So stay tuned...
What are some of your favorite artists?
Katharina Grosse is a contemporary artist who proves the power of women and who creates awesome color-explosive art to experience! She is also a role model as a real power women within the very male-dominated art world.
Which Instagram accounts about art inspire you?
I really like the Instagram account of our ArtNight artist Zina Levina. She is a great illustrator. Her artworks are unique, full of details and so colourful. It always makes me happy to have a look on them!
I am also a big fan of Nina Thym’s Instagram account! Her artworks inspire me a lot and they are also so unique. One of my favourite ArtNight motive “Blumenmädchen” is illustrated by her.
Aura Raja is a great artist as well. She is a really fun person and a person full of happiness, so are her artworks!
I am a huge fan of handlettering that is why I like Tanja Meyer’s Instagram account so much. Apart from that she is also doing really awesome abstract illustrations like the one about Picasso.
To be honest, I just cannot decide which Instagram account of art I got inspired the most because all of our ArtNight artists have their uniqueness in their artworks!
Thank you for sharing your passion with us, Aimie!
➸ You want to get an insight about what ArtNight is about? You can find more information on their website or Instagram account. Or follow Aimie's startup life on her personal Instagram account for some great inspiration and backstage glimpses about being a company founder.
Interview by Mermaid Stories
Photos by ArtNight