Superpower on the Side is a series that features WeWork team members and how they spend their time when they’re not at work.
Soccer and art were Amy Petrikin’s “two main things” growing up. The former took the Tulsa, Oklahoma, native to college at the University of Oklahoma, where she spent three years playing on the women’s team. But going into her senior year, she realized something had to give when an art class she wanted to take conflicted with her practice schedule.
“I knew in my heart that art was what I wanted to pursue,” says Petrikin, 27, a community associate at WeWork 220 N Green St in Chicago. “That brought me to the decision to quit soccer.”
With her newfound free time, she started traveling around the country attending electronic music festivals like Sonic Bloom in Colorado and Infrasound Music Festival in Wisconsin. When Petrikin graduated in 2014, friends she’d made at Chicago’s Electric Daisy Carnival persuaded her to move to the Windy City, where she snagged a job working as a Starbucks barista.
In Chicago, Petrikin’s passion for art blossomed. She met like-minded people in the city’s art scene, and her flexible work schedule allowed her to continue traveling to the small, art-focused music festivals she loved. She started making enamel pins designed with event-specific details, like the location or date, and selling them to the many collectors in the festival community.
“People come up to me all the time like, ‘I’ve met you before, I bought pins from you online,’” says Petrikin. “It’s amazing to know people out there know about my art.”
She was making a name for herself, but living in Chicago and traveling to festivals all the time proved difficult on a barista’s salary. So, in 2016, Petrikin moved back to Tulsa, where she helped friends open a dual-concept coffeehouse and hot yoga studio, and continued making and promoting her art at dozens of events.
Eventually, Petrikin started doing live painting at the shows, displaying her work and setting up an easel to paint on-site while DJs performed. “People come up and we have great conversations and it’s just really meaningful,” she says. “My little slogan that I use for my art name, Divine Affinity, is about how when you see someone’s art, you don’t even have to have too much of a conversation to just connect with them on a higher level.”
Petrikin’s work caught the attention of several artists who perform at the shows she attended. In January 2018, she designed a logo for a musician known as The Widdler, and her work is featured on The Widdler’s official merchandise, including posters and sweatshirts. Her enamel pins are equally popular: In June 2018, Canadian electronic duo Zeds Dead asked her to design a pin for their show at Red Rocks Amphitheatre in Morrison, Colorado.
“Now I’ll go to shows and see people wearing my art,” she says. “It’s really cool.”
She continued to work at the coffeehouse-yoga studio, appreciating the flexibility that job gave her. But when her boyfriend, Jack Wibright, told Petrikin about WeWork, the new company he was working for, she was intrigued. Even moreso after he said he thought she’d really love working there, too.
“I think when you’re around people who are a fit to work for and around WeWork, it’s kind of natural to bring them in as well,” she says. So she did some research, and when a community associate position in Chicago opened up in October 2018, she applied—and accepted the role in December.
“WeWork excited me so much, and I just felt so much drive,” she says. “Every time I would visit Jack at his WeWork and see how everyone was working together, it was something I wanted to be a part of. It’s a place where I felt I could really bring what I love to do in my creativity to the table.”
A few months into her new position, Petrikin has found plenty of ways to stay creative, whether it’s designing the chalkboards in the lobby or working on graphic design.
The latter is a new medium for Petrikin—she’s teaching herself, with inspiration from WeWork’s in-house arts-and-graphics team. She’s designed event posters, stickers, and a varsity jacket. Her hope is that one of her designs will eventually be put on official WeWork swag.
“That’s my goal,” she says. “To contribute in some way to this company, whether it’s a painting on a wall, a flag, a hat pin, anything. My goal is to work with WeWork with my art.”
If you’re interested in learning more about Petrikin’s art and travels, follow her on Instagram @divineaffinity.