Monday, August 4, 2014

She Lives Creatively Spotlight: Denise Allen Incao

Denise Allen Band in Dreux France
"Just go to your creative space every day and write, paint, sculpt,
whatever you do, and just enjoy the process and do it."
~ Denise Allen Incao

In the spring of 2013 I received an email from an art gallery in New York City. They gushed about how much they loved my paintings. And they made promises that they could help me take my art career to new levels – if I was willing to pay thousands of dollars to have them represent me. Not afraid to invest in myself and my work, I replied to the email with a few questions. But the fancy NYC art gallery didn’t get back to me for weeks.

In the meantime, I received an email from Denise Allen Incao and her business partner Barbara Allen. They were starting a new online art gallery. An exclusive virtual venture that would help hand-selected artists gain more exposure for their work – at no cost. The contract they sent me was completely transparent. And all of my questions were answered promptly.

By the time the gallery in New York City finally got back to me, had launched and I was proud to be one of their Flagship Resident Artists. My involvement with G247 has given my art more exposure and given me more credibility as an artist. In the fall of 2013 my writing also received more exposure when I was invited to write a monthly creative lifestyle guest blog post on their site.

I’m grateful for my partnership with G247 and that I didn’t go with that gallery in NYC. So this month I’m delighted to feature Denise Allen Incao, co-founder of, in the She Lives Creatively Spotlight!

Marcella: You are a co-founder of, an online art gallery that represents artists throughout North America. What inspired you and your business partner to start your own gallery? 

Denise:  I’m an artist myself and know how much time and investment is involved in exhibiting in galleries and doing art shows and festivals. I wanted to have a place to show my own artwork and reach a much larger audience than who might walk in to an art gallery or visit my booth at a show.  So my partner Barbara Allen and I, and our other co-founders, had the idea to offer an online venue to artists who are looking for alternative ways to get their art seen by a much larger audience. 

M: What appealed to you about starting an online art gallery, as opposed to a traditional brick-and-mortar gallery? 

D: What appealed to me was the possibility of creating a place where emerging and established artists can reach a very large number of viewers who might just be looking for that perfect piece of artwork (their artwork!), but wouldn't find it hanging on a gallery wall in some other town on the other side of the country. We want to connect people with great art and the artists that create these works. And our goal has been to offer the opportunity for artists to exhibit with us, with no sign up fees or monthly dues.  We want there to be very little risk or investment on the part of the artist. I've managed several art galleries over the years and also shown in quite a few, so I myself wanted to be involved with something cutting edge and with limitless possibility. 

Denise's masks left to right: "Shaman," "Peacock Dancer," and "Spirit Hunter"

M: You are a visual artist who specializes in sculptural ceramics. How do you balance creating your studio work with running your online art gallery? 

D: It's not always easy. When there is a lot happening with the gallery, my studio time has to wait.  But I love the work I do with, so it's not a problem for me.  I try to stay on a schedule as much as I can with both things, and that helps a lot. Otherwise, I may flounder around and that's not a useful way to spend my time.   

Denise Allen Band
M: You’ve also been the front woman for the Denise Allen Band for the past 10 years! What came first – your love for singing/song writing or visual arts? 

D: I was a visual artist long before starting to perform with my band and write songs.  I graduated Auburn University with a Bachelor's Degree in Fine Art, with a studio emphasis in Sculptural Ceramics in 1984. I've been working as a studio artist and teaching kids and adults ceramics classes and workshops since then.  It was my first love as far as a creative outlet. I have been very active with music and my band over the past 10 years. There is a natural flow back and forth between the two that has happened to just work out great! 

M: I read that you were born in the South and raised on rock, blues, and gospel. Who have been your biggest musical influences? 

D: I've had so, so many influences over the years and it changes as time goes on. But if I had to name a few early influences they would be Bonnie Raitt, Joan Osborne, the Black Crows, the Pretenders, Patti Griffin and more.  I also love Pink, Katie Perry and Taylor Swift, but I guess that's another thing altogether.

M: How have you and your band made the time to record 6 albums and tour Europe every summer? What are your time management tips? 

D: I try to make schedules for myself and work with deadlines. That keeps me on track. I am usually more productive and consistent if I always have that next goal on the horizon to work toward. The most important thing is to put the time in every day, and whether I'm getting paid for it or not (or at least not yet), I consider it my work.  I can't speak for the rest of my band, but for me and my family we've made it all happen because it feeds me and that feeds our family life.  The European Tours with the band are quite a stretch because they are usually very packed and it's tiring. But my daughter loves to travel and the experience is great for her (and me too) so it’s worth it! 

M: You’re also married and mentioned that you have a daughter. How do you balance being a wife, mother, and a multi-passionate artist? 

D: My family is involved with all that I do and very supportive. I think it all works because of that and there is a natural ebb and flow to the creative projects that I'm involved in.  When one comes to the forefront, others fall back a bit. And I have to be careful to religiously keep to my designated family time. I can push things too much sometimes, not always knowing when to quit. My daughter is a good barometer of that. She lets me know when I'm spreading myself too thin.   

M: What are your self-care practices (nutrition, exercise, etc.) that support your health and vitality, to in-turn support your creativity? 

D: I am a walker and hiker, not just for the exercise, but for the time out in nature. I'm lucky because I live out in the country very close to National Forest Lands and other beautiful places to explore. I also Kayak whenever I can. I meditate and eat a mostly raw vegetarian diet. I also know that creating artwork and music is absolutely necessary for me as a whole woman, a soul.  It sounds corny maybe, but if I am not putting my time in and honoring my creative self, I feel out of touch with God. It's just that simple for me. I make sure I make time to always be creating because it's necessary for my health and well being.  

M: What advice do you have for aspiring and emerging visual artists and singer/songwriters? 

D: It's good to have schedules, but sometimes you do have to go with the juice and stay up till the wee hours of the morning when the muse strikes. And deal with the consequences the following day.  It's usually worth it though, in my experience.  That being said, if you're serious, make your creative work your work, as in job. Put some time in every day. Create something every day. And don't judge your own work. What you think is garbage, might totally light up someone else’s life. I've learned that from experience. If you aspire to write a hit song, a best selling novel, or a million dollar painting right off the bat, you might never even get started. Your expectations may be too high. Just go to your creative space every day and write, paint, sculpt, whatever you do, and just enjoy the process and do it. Don't think about how great or crappy it may be. Just do it. That's what's important for you, as an artist… the creating itself.  It's good for your soul!   

M: If people want to learn more about your visual art, and the Denise Allen Band, where should they go? 

D: For Music, they can visit Our newest album, "This Heartbreak," is the best, in my opinion. For Artwork, they can visit and visit Denise Incao's gallery page. 

M: Thank you Denise! 

D: Thank you Marcella! For all that you do to inspire and encourage other people, women and artists. I always enjoy reading your newsletters. They inspire me!