Lacey Hennessey ’09

Seeing What Sticks

By Sara Ann Hutto ’17

Hennessey, a self-taught artist, started her business through exploring and adapting

When Lacey Hennessey was a parks, recreation and tourism management major at Clemson, she started painting tigers, Greek letters and Pabst Blue Ribbon logos — you name it — on fellow students’ tailgate coolers for some extra pocket change. But she never thought her cooler doodles would turn into a full-fledged mural business one day.

“I have always been the type of person to throw stuff on the wall and see what sticks,” Hennessey says, reflecting on her career path.

After Clemson, Hennessey eventually landed an event planning gig at a Greenville-based marketing company, which is where she says she really learned how to run a business. On the side, she was creating house drawings for local real estate agents, painting pet portraits and even arranging wedding flowers.

With the help of social media, Hennessey was able to turn her side hustle into a full-time business in 2018. Now, she specializes in bringing medium- to large-scale murals to life in both commercial and residential spaces, including Clemson’s Duke Energy Heat and Power Plant, Kite Hill Brewing and Tipsy Taco.

“By the end of the fall, I will have several new projects completed in the Clemson area, including a large outdoor mural on the side of Judge Keller’s, an interior mural at a new business, Paddle and Board, along with an office mural at Clemson SC Dental Associates,” Hennessey says.

Her favorite materials to work with are acrylic paints, FrogTape and her handy projector, which she uses to cast her digital renderings onto mural spaces. But she’s not afraid to branch out, with mediums ranging from digital applications and watercolors to mixed-media collages and textile designs.

“I refer to myself as a ‘chameleon of the arts’ because I am always up for a challenge,” she says. “Even though I have a defined style” — think bright colors, bold lines and patterns — “clients know they can come to me with a budding idea, and I can adapt my style or color palette to reach their goals.”

When she’s not creating, Hennessey is feeding her passion for travel with The Yacht Week, a company that sends groups to worldwide destinations on personal yachts with licensed skippers. Her first trip with the company was a weeklong tour of Greece, where she connected with a party of fellow young professionals, many of whom are still close friends.

“Since then, I’ve gone to 20 different countries. I got the travel bug.”

Through a chance connection on one of her trips, Hennessey got the opportunity to design a lot of  The Yacht Week’s merchandise, a testament to her entrepreneurial spirit and adaptability across a spectrum of projects.

“I was running my mouth about my business to somebody I didn’t know, and he was like, ‘Oh actually, I work for the company out of London. Send me a sample.’ So now I make all of their T-shirts,” Hennessey laughs.

What’s next? “In October, I’ll be in Tahiti and Bora Bora for a few weeks. That’s a bucket list trip for me.”

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