My own story, this embarrassing and a fucking long ass post. I wouldn't read a post this long. Just say'n
I have always been an artist but somehow though I never thought of it as a job, grownups always seemed to be working, and chugging and art is fun! I studied International Affairs in college. Problem solving is very satisfying, and learning about history and cultures is so fascinating and something I could do for the rest of my life and be very happy. Working with politicians? Hell no. I had to be really honest with myself and face the fact that I didn't want to slave so hard, uphill, against so much "worst of human nature" bullshit. I did manage to get a job at an agency that puts together international education tours for kids and teachers.
|Our Park Slope Living room the week we moved in|
We moved to NYC and I got my dream job at Landor! I spent my days trying to get fonts to load, I loathed some of the people I had to collaborate with and I realized how inexperienced I was, and how uninterested I was in trying to fix that. It was very inspiring though to be around so many talented people, seriously incredible! I worked late, a lot. I commuted an hour there and back, and when I came home I needed at least an hour to decompress before I would even make eye contact with O. One night he called me at my desk, I remember it was 11pm on a Tuesday...he said "Baby, come home now please. I miss you and I think you need to do something else, our relationship is suffering." He was right! My life didn't line up with my values, to put my love first...so I left.
|working from home|
After a few months it became clear that I was sick, and getting worse. I felt bloated every time I ate anything, so tired I cried from it even right when I woke up, I peed alllll the time, my lady times were so bad one day I had to call O for him to run (literally) home b/c I thought I was going to die on the living room floor. I was painting about two things every six months, making jewelry, drawing, just shitting around. I had about two hours of normal activity a day, and we were poor again b/c I brought in no income and O had to work to support us both, and pay all of my medical bills. I sold a print here and there, about two paintings a year. He was so great, and encouraging and when I wanted to cry all day he pulled me out of my self pitty.
Well it turned out I had Adrenal Fatigue (diagnosed with a hormone test, ask your doc!) and Endometriosis. Awesome. Oh, and also Myofascial Pain Syndrome which meant I was often laid up in bed with severe neck pain. I couldn't even take walks in the months leading up to my wedding b/c I was so scared of hurting myself and not being able to walk down the aisle. My whole life became about getting better, even though I never said anything on my blog. I had surgery to remove Endometriosis on my intestines 1.5 months before my wedding and I was uncomfortable for most of it :( I hate talking about my medical shit, seriously who cares! But, since these experiences changed my perspective about life so much, I feel I have to mention them. Also I am happy to expound on all of the healing I learned about it you want to know.
I slowly got better, and am now working out, eating normally and getting in a full day of work!! Sadly that is not the end of it, but that is a tale for another day. I did it by pure motivation. I tried everything and went to so many doctors and healers and specialist I lost count. One person led to another and now I have a chiropractor, a graston and physical therapist, a deep tissue massage specialist (anyone in ATL email me and I will gladly share my sources), an orthopedist, spine specialist, fabulous set of docs for my lady parts, and herbalists, acupuncturists and nutritionist and I studied Chi Quong, and Pilates.
Ok, flash forward to like 2010 and I am only now starting to really set aside time to paint every day, and blog, and build up my shops, take part in art shows in the community and meet other makers in Atlanta and around the world (through my blog!) I never sold anything when I participated in events btw. So lets see, that means that every year when I look back at my income, I have to spread that out over how many years? So it looks like I went from obscurity to popularity quickly but I was quietly working for years.
I knew I had to work for myself, I mean if I had had a job I would never have even been able to keep it. I was that sick and boy was I depressed from being so sick. I was young! Had endless ideas! I met a group of ladies who found me when my house was on Design Sponge in 08. We had our fist meeting right after my surgery, and have met once a month since then and have really formed a tight group were I can turn to for advice, to vent or for help of any kind. I suggest you make this a reality in your life too. Reach out and be around people who do what you want to do. I didn't have anything to contribute for about two years, but I learned a lot and I got over my hurt pride at being so unaccomplished too.
Sales slowly started to trickle in and I learned how to deal with shipping by making literally hundreds and hundreds of dollars of mistakes people. I said yes to every opportunity, I re-painted things for free, I spent hours and hours on new paintings trying to make them perfect and I kept painting and painting. I never had a fear of showing my work, art school will do that to you. You get over your fear of criticism in about ten minutes. One day I lamented to my friend that I was desperate for help packing things up because I couldn't bend over the table with my gimpy back and also paint...she suggested someone and my whole life changed! I didn't know how I was going to afford to pay her, but it worked out. I could get more painting done and the more I painted, the more people asked me to paint, the more I made and could pay her!
Moving to my studio was one of my proudest accomplishments. I saved up for months so that I would have a little support if it all went to shit. I found one in right away and signed the papers. I couldn't sleep for days and days! How was I going to make monthly payments! What if everyone stopped buying paintings? Then I hired another assistant so that I could spend even more time painting. They do things like: photograph and upload images to the store, keep track of the store, print shipping labels and pack up stuff to ship, paint the edges of the paintings and wire them in the back so you can hang them...pick up lunch, tidy the studio, research stuff for me. Having two people I have to train and be in charge of has taught me that I must be very organized, everything filed away, and a set procedure for every step. It is a whole new set of responsibilities. I made a ton of mistakes, and lost money from those mistakes but like O always says: This happend so that it will never happen again. Boy do I have to tell myself that all the time, and you will too.
Now I am working on inovation. I am changing things around so that I have more room for collaborations, different kinds of paintings and mediums, more galleries and events and expanding to different substrates. I have to keep going, I can't help myself. My friend asked me how I felt on my fist day in my new studio, I said, I dont know, I was busy working. I am banking on my belief that if I work, and create interesting things (interesting to me!) and innovate then people will be drawn to me and I can keep my dream job going. I mean really, how many people are on this earth? A lot, and I only need a small percentage of them to buy my paintings, so the pool is endless! It seems less scary when you look at it that way.
How did I do? What did I leave out? What else do you want to know? Coming up:
Getting over your fear (yourself)
Honing in on what you really are good at
Fucking making it happen
Goal setting and time management