featured Artist Friday:: Trent Hultgren

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Today we have a very special interview for our Featured Artist Friday! This season's Design Star hopeful Trent Hultgren! Trent and I were friends in college and recently reconnected on facebook. He joined facebook and reconnected with a lot of friends and then disappeared for a while... he then came back and revealed the reason for his absence... he'd been cast on HGTV's Design Star! I'm so proud of him, inspired by him, and excited to see him on the show! I was thrilled that he'd be willing to answer some questions about following his dreams and tell us about his journey to this point. I just know there are many more great things in his future.

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Trent, thank you so much for taking the time to do this interview!I know things are busy and very exciting for you right now, with the new season of Design Star starting this Sunday!My 12 year old daughter, Brooklyn and I have been reviewing past seasons online and can’t wait to watch you on the show!

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I’ve been so inspired by your creative journey lately.When we were college friends, we both had majors and interests that were quite different from what we are pursuing today.When did you first realize that interior design was your real passion? I have always been interested in design. I would have to say that design (interior/landscape/events and weddings), travel, and motivational speaking are all a deep passion of mine. I would often buy things for my own home, while I was a pastor, and would daydream about opening up my own store…so, it started early. As a kid I would rearrange the house whenever my parents were away, so it was something I had a passion for early on.

I’ve come across many other creative souls who started out on a different path and are now making a shift and listening to those creative whispers that have been calling to them.What was it like when you decided to give yourself permission to get involved in interior design and pursue it as a career? It was equally awesome and challenging. I have always been a risk taker and gone after what was in my heart. Life is way too short to live on the sidelines of your dreams!!!

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I admire your courage in following your passion.It can be really scary taking the leap into a new business.What were some of the fears and obstacles that you’ve faced, and how have you overcome them? I started at Bloomingdales and jumped in knowing that I had to give everything for what I was asking of them. Later, I moved on to the J.Peterman Co. (seen on Seinfeld), and began merchandising.When I opened my own store there were many obstacles and fears…”will I make rent?”, “how will I get customers?”, “will I be able to eat?”…lol. It was the unknown and not easy but nothing we really want is…so we have to give it all up and just jump in. I think a lot of times we think there will be some magical equation but there isn’t, you just have to do and give it all you got!

What has been the reaction of friends and loved ones who have seen you make this leap? Early on it was very difficult because I was relentless in not living the “normal” life. I have traveled for about 3 months a year for the last 10 years.When times were rough and I had to make great sacrifices, friends and family often said “just get a real, normal job”. You really have to dig deep and let go of approval to get to where you are often meant to be.I wish I could say the road is easy but it isn’t , it is however, adventurous, beautiful, full, and exciting.

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Do you have any advice for someone who is on the fence about making the change from safe but uninspiring job to pursuing their creative business dreams? Yes. Put yourself on your deathbed (I know it sounds morbid, but trust me) and ask yourself “what do I wish I would have done with my life?”The thing is – it’s not a bigger house, more money, awards…its living with passion, seeing the world, say “I love you”, doing what is right. I can live on very little but I cannot live the mundane.

What is the best advice you’ve received about getting started? I can’t say there was particular advice but the support of my best friend, Brian Moats, and my family was huge!

What’s the best part about spending your days doing something you’re truly passionate about?Are there days that you feel like it would be easier to go back to something more “secure”? There is nothing in comparison when you are in the stride and doing what is in your soul! You feel alive! Yes, there are many days (especially when you live in an area like I do where there is a lot of wealth), where I think – “ya, a regular job with a salary and benefits would be great”.

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You have done a lot of traveling all over the world.Is this where your design inspiration comes from? Absolutely! Every country has so much to offer. You are often looking at design that’s been around for a couple hundred years. The colors, people, oceans, resorts, style, architecture ,etc… I also use a lot of travel magazines for inspiration as well.

Can you share a little more about your creative path and how you’ve come to this point, being a designer on this season’s Design Star? I started in sales at Bloomingdales, moved to do merchandising for the J.Peterman Co., then opened my own store in Newport Beach and from there began designing homes, weddings, and events. My passion is to take existing homes and create an incredible oasis for the client.

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I really cannot wait to watch you this season on the show!You are obviously very gifted at what you do, and I’m sure you’re having a blast doing something you’re so passionate about. You’ve always been sincerely friendly and a joy to be with.I’m excited to see your interactions with the other designers.Your personality will surely shine through to everyone who watches.I’ll be celebrating you and cheering you on! Thanks for the opportunity to share my passions and heart. Be sure to catch Design Star this Sunday at 10pm on HGTV.Cheers! Trent

Some other places you can find Trent:

I listened to this interview a few days ago and you should give it a listen too... you'll fall in love with Trent immediately and join me in rooting for him on the show! I especially love the bit on what he says about fear and facing them head on.

Here's a sneak peak for the first episode THIS Sunday night!

Trent also has a beautiful website: tweakitout.com, his blog: http://www.tweekitout.com/, you can follow him on twitter, and of course you should "like" his Design Star facebook page!