You Should Know … Arielle Zorger

Arielle Zorger
Arielle Zorger (Courtesy of Arielle Zorger)

Through her work as an artist, Arielle Zorger, 35, shows others that doing something you love makes working a lot easier.

After growing up in Owings Mills and graduating from Beth Tfiloh Dahan Community School, Zorger went to the University of Delaware for hotel restaurant institutional management. Years later, Zorger turned her passion into a career and opened her business, Arielle Zorger Designs. All her paintings focus on Judaism and help others connect to traditions like challah and candle lighting. After starting her business on Etsy, Zorger continues to expand with a Shopify website.

Zorger and her husband Michael currently live in Pikesville with their two daughters.

Do you currently work in the hotel industry?
I worked for Marriott hotels and Ritz-Carlton hotels for 13 years. After going on maternity leave with my second daughter, my job was then eliminated once my maternity leave was over. So I was no longer working in that industry. Now, what was a hobby is now my full-time job. That is Arielle Zorger Designs. I paint and usually it’s super bright and colorful and focused on Judaism.

When did you start Arielle Zorger Designs?
I started this in 2019 as a hobby after my first daughter was born. And I just started painting. There was like a million different canvases all around our house, and my husband asked me why I don’t just put them on Etsy and see what happens. And I was like, “Okay, why not?”

In conjunction with that, I was doing some local markets in D.C. because we lived in D.C. for the last 10 years. The response was unbelievable. Because of the motivation from the feedback that I was getting, I was like, “Oh my gosh, I love this.” But it was never a full-time thing. It was what I did when I had a free moment. Until 2020 when I was home with my two kids during the pandemic and I would paint. And that’s where I put my energy towards.

Why do you like to focus on Judaism?
I grew up going to day school. My parents were very involved in the synagogue where we
grew up in Owings Mills and Reisterstown. It’s just been behind the scenes with everything we do. My grandparents were Holocaust survivors on my mom’s side, and it’s just been a part of our life and it just brings me joy to be proud to be Jewish. This is just kind of where it got me today.

Do you expect to do this for the long term?
I have no idea. Right now, we are kind of in a transition with our family. My husband left his job in D.C., and I was unemployed. We came and moved home because of the pandemic and being ready to get out of the city. We’re not really sure what our next step is, but I know that this is what makes me happy. So I’d love for it to be the long term, but I have no idea.

Do you think you’ll ever go back into the hotel industry?
I think if it’s something I have to do, I would do it, but I don’t think so. I want to do something that I love.

Did you like to paint when you were younger?
No, but I was always very creative and loved to do arts and crafts. I never painted. I have zero painting knowledge of any school, never took classes. This was simply because it felt good. I was searching for something that would relax me because I have really bad anxiety, and painting, for whatever reason, relaxes me.

Do you feel like there is a stigma around professional painters or painters that
are also mothers?
I don’t think there’s a stigma, I just think it’s looked down upon because people don’t look at it like a career. It’s a hobby. Everyone in my family told me this was my hobby and that it wasn’t real. So it’s really been coming from myself and the joy that I get from it to keep it going. When people tell me it’s just a hobby, I tell them that this is what makes me happy. When people say you can’t do something, it motivates you more. I can really be  myself with this. I’ve struggled with my identity for a long time, but I feel alive with my business.

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