‘After I quit working for someone else, I became fearless,’ artist April Couch says

words by Noor Hindi, photos by Ilenia Pezzaniti

April Couch has always been a doodler. Whether she’s drawing on notebooks and calendars or sticky notes and memos, for April, it’s all about keeping her hands busy.

In 2011, she found zentangle, a method of doodling that involves drawing images by using structured patterns and repeated combinations of lines, simple curves and dots.

Today, April has taken her zentangle creations and built a career. Totally Tangled Creations, located in Studio 113 at  Summit Artspace in Akron, is full of April’s zentangles, which she uses to decorate everything from pillows to painted wood products like bowls and coffee tables.

“I love creating,” April says. “I love the idea of starting something new and seeing the end product. It’s like watching a flower bloom.”

As an artist and entrepreneur, it’s important for April to not only make art, but to share it with the world in an accessible and friendly way. The price ranges in April’s studio vary from $1 to hundreds of dollars to accommodate all budgets.

April has fused her business degree from Baldwin Wallace University and her love of art, which she says is her secret to achievements as an artist and entrepreneur.

“When I thought about my art, I thought about it from all aspects, not just creating it. I thought about it from the marketing standpoint, the advertising standpoint. You have to have a healthy balance of the two,” she says.

Aside from Totally Tangled Creations, April is also a mother of three kids, who she encourages to follow their passions. Her daughter, Alexandria Couch, created “Embody,” the piece featured on The Devil Strip’s April cover.

Although April says her business degree has helped her art tremendously and recommends young artists take business classes, April wasn’t always encouraged to pursue art. She worked in banking for 17 years, then as a substitute teacher for eight years.

But when April’s kids grew up, she started thinking about what she wanted to do with her life.

“No one was saying, ‘You should pursue art.’ They would say, ‘You’re going to be a starving artist.’ But if you look at the world, everything that we see is touched by art.”

April also advises artists to be fearless about making and promoting their art.

“After I quit working for someone else, I became fearless. So many people never try. They’ll say, ‘I’ve been wanting to do this for so long.’ What’s stopping you? If you try and you fail, just learn from it.”

Visit Totally Tangled Creations on the first floor of Summit Artspace at 140 E Market Street or follow April on Facebook at Facebook.com/TotallyTangledCreations.

This story is part of The Devil Strip’s Akropreneurs series, which is made possible by the Burton D. Morgan Foundation and the Fund for Our Economic Future.

Noor Hindi is The Devil Strip’s Senior Reporter. Email her at noor@thedevilstrip.com.