January 2, 2010, my life took an amazing turn.
It was the day that I first spoke to the amazing Pam Kueber on the phone. Pam had recently asked me to use one of my ATCs (Artist Trading Cards) on her burgeoning website, Retro Renovation (which has since become a powerhouse!). It was a card that I had made in November of 2009, wishing all of my friends a Happy Thanksgiving. She liked it so much that she used it on her site, which I had very happily obliged her to do.
So when I got an e-mail from her the morning of January 2, 2010, asking her to call me, I got that roller coaster-gut feeling. We talked, and she outlined an idea that she had where I would make a collage a month for her. A PAID GIG.
The only glitch in this plan was that she wanted me to craft a collage for her that day, so that she could use it on her site the following day. We were set to see our wonderful friends Eric, Jason and Amy in Milwaukee, and we had to leave in about an hour. In my first draft of the reply e-mail, I told her that I couldn’t do it, because I didn’t have enough time. Brian said to me, “I think you DO have enough time if you just started working on it.” So I did. And she loved it. (It’s the featured image, above.)
And we made it to Milwaukee on time. Here’s where it gets really amazing: that one collage and the offer to make one a month led to a very real and terrifying discussion with our friends about the possibility of me leaving my job at The Reporter and attempting to do my art full time. (These wonderful friends of ours were so lovingly indulgent to even entertain the notion with me; I can’t imagine how much of a bore I was that night.)
The next day, Brian and I spent the entire day with our Pros and Cons list, and made the decision together that I would hand in my 2 week notice on Thursday, January 7. One look at my boss’s face told me I had absolutely made the right decision – she was all at once sad that I was leaving and ecstatic that she wouldn’t have to lay me off at some point. And I got an amazing send-off from my fantastic co-workers, complete with a Food Day to End All Food Days. 😀
And Pam Kueber did indeed hire me to do a collage a month, which morphed into a “Love the House You’re In!” contest, whereby the monthly winner would have their house rendered in collage by Yours Truly. (You can see the entire scope of my time at Retro Renovation here.)
Pam Kueber, thank you again for taking a chance on this neophyte and giving me the confidence to follow through with my dream. To my friends Amy, Jason and Eric, thank you for listening to me stream-of-conscious think that evening. And to Brian – thank you for believing in me like no one else. I owe you all a HUGE debt of gratitude. And I continue to “make it ’til I make it”. 😀