Wow, friends. It’s the end of the year, the end of the ‘Teens, and the end of my first decade as a full-time artist. Yes, just two days from now, it’ll be ten years – TEN! – since I took that terrifying leap and quit my job in the newspaper biz. I can scarcely believe it myself.
I fully intended for this blog post to be a run-down of all of the things I did this year – but about a quarter of the way through I realized that it was going to be so long that even I wouldn’t want to read it. 🙂
My job – my career – is art. And finally, this year, I embraced that title fully. It’s so odd, this way of life; to be so fully dependent on my ideas and creativity, well, it’s so much harder than I thought. A decade ago – hell, even four years ago, I honestly thought that I would just hang out, make art sometimes, and it would all fall into place. I mean, what else is there to it?
Any working artist reading this is laughing right now, but for those of you who aren’t artists, it would be like someone going into business for themselves but, you know, casually forgetting that they need to keep track of income and expenses, and taxes, and overhead, and customer relations, and feedback, and promotion, and morale….you get the idea. 🙂
I’ve finally figured (most of) that out. 🙂
After years of trying things – new techniques, new color palettes, and new sizes, it wasn’t until I fully embraced who I am that everything fell into place. Who I am is an artist who works very small. And I’m done making excuses to myself for it.
This epiphany began last year at my own TEDx Fonddulac talk, and this year I actually began to believe my own words. I’m enjoying my work more than I ever have in my career, and getting those same elusive feelings I had when I first started making ATCs all those years ago. The joy is back. And it should be, right?! I mean, isn’t this why we’re artists to begin with, because we love the creation of it? Part of it is being able to teach what I know, and seeing folks make their own prints to their own delight. It’s such a rewarding experience and I never want to lose that wonderment and surprise.
Yes, I’ve been INSANELY busy this year, and yes – I do lie awake at night, wondering whom I’ve forgotten to thank for a particular opportunity or whom I’ve neglected in my friendships. In the coming year, I do hope to see more folks out and about, and find a balance with my work and my relationships. It’ll happen. In the meantime, thank you for your patience while I do what I love, more than ever. 🙂