A Full Time Artist
In 3 weeks, I will officially be my own Boss and SHIT. WILL. GET. REAL.
I made the decision to leave my decent paying job long before the Covid-19 pandemic. I gave myself til the end of July and then I would become a full time Artist, working from home.
Pre-pandemic plans in my full-time Artist life included:
Work my ass off painting 8 hours a day on a collection shown at art shows that I would sell for 4 to 5 figures.
While Luke is in school from 8:30am - 2:30pm (I'd finish off my "8 hour day" after I pick him up.
Get the occasional commission.
Pimp out my CAD artist skills for freelance when the going got tough.
Sell my posessions if the going got REALLY tough.
Obviously things got a bit shifted, although, with the encouragement of my Life Coach, I decided the departure date would remain stable. By keeping the departure date stable, as scary as that is, I have set a precedent for myself. My goals are so palatable and important to me that I need to keep certain things in my control when it seems like the world around me is out of control. It will keep future me accountable and self-reliable. I will not shake on my plans no matter what wise advice I may get (i.e. "you ought to think about your option of staying with your job and do your art so you don't run into any financial struggle.")
I have spent about a year doing the mental and emotional work in creating a mindset that only has room for positivity, ambition, and motivation. The mental and emotional work: hired a Life Coach, read several goal-getting self help books You Are A Badass, The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success, The Four Agreements and You Are A Badass With Making Money, consistent meditation, and challenged myself to do uncomfortable things (still am). I strongly believe that if we are afraid to step away from our comfort zone, it's almost impossible to reach our optimal selves. I know, some might be secretly thinking "Well, must be nice. Not all of us can afford to just quit our jobs to live out our dreams." I had those same exact thoughts for over a decade until I realized those thoughts are just "limiting beliefs" and they're not actual truths. Don't get me wrong, fear and self doubt still poke their nasty heads out, but I try hard not to pay attention to them for too long. Or, if I do, I use those bastards to drive me forward. For instance, Paul and another friend of mine sent me a link on Facebook about the "Burbank Arts Utility Box Beautification Program." Local Artists can submit an application and design to the Burbank Arts organization to paint all sides of one out of the six utility boxes in Magnolia Park, under the 2020 theme "Community". I sorta brushed it off at first. "I don't have time for this", "I can't think of anything to paint", "I've never done anything like this before and not sure that I can", etc. See? Fear and doubt. After recognizing my resistance came from those typical bastards "fear" and "self doubt", I decided, "FUCK THAT. I'm gonna do it. Even if my idea doesn't get picked. Even if it makes me question my sanity while I embark on a grueling time consuming back breaking project." Paul and I sat down the other night and came up with a concept. I have 10 days to finalize my sketch, fill out the application and submit it. I'm excited to share it in a future blog post.
So yeah. Above plans have been shifted with the exception of my departure date. Luke will most likely be virtually homeschooled while I'm in the other room doing my best to focus on painting. *deep breaths* It will be ok. It will be ok. I got this.
Barely going in to the job I'm still employed at during this pandemic, I had to seek financial help through Unemployment back in March. Without getting too deep into why I was/am "barely working" at the job, I started to realize I might just be able to make this passion into a living. Without trying hard, I scored 4 commissioned paintings from March-May and have 3 lined up for me to start. Since the Black Lives Matter protests in early June, I was inspired to support the movement not just by educating myself on systemic racism, but to use my gift of Art to support the movement. For almost a month now, I have been putting in hours and hours into a 24"x30" acrylic painting. I feel like I say this with every painting I work on, but this might be one of the most challenging ones. Or is it? That could just be all in my head. Might be the narrative I'm used to. Anyway, the goal is to auction it off at a starting bid of $5K. My super ambitious "UNIVERSE-MAKE-THIS-HAPPEN" goal is for this painting to sell for $7K. I donate $5K to a BLM charity of my choice (still deciding on which) and save the $2K for life expenses. Not sure HOW exactly this will happen, but I have unshakable belief in manifesting my deepest desires through the powers of the Universe. Yup, I am very aware of how "woo-woo" this all sounds and I'd rather be cheesy and rich than cool and broke.
In all my years of being an Artist, I never imagined my talents would bring me money. I never considered promoting what I do, never considered it would provide financially, never considered someone would want to pay me for doing what I absolutely love and only considered it simply a hobby. All of my drawings and paintings were gifts or just given to the requester at zero charge because I majorly lacked drive. I'll never forget. In 1998 as a Sophomore at Rosary High School in Fullerton, CA, word got around that quiet, shy, little 'ol me drew a lot and was quite good at it. I was taking some art classes and had done an amazing Jim Morrison. I drew Bruce Willis and Audrey Hepburn for a couple of friendly classmates because they smiled and asked me to.
One random day, an intimidating upperclassman came up to me and told me that her EVEN MORE intimidating punk rock, black eyeliner lined eyes, ripped up fishnets, Queen of the RBF, no-nonsense friend, Kacey, wants me to draw Mike Ness from the 90's punk band, Social Distortion. [Insert bugged out eyes emoji here.]
A few humorous notes of hindsight to make here.
Kacey and I have never uttered one word to each other, before or after the portrait.
She had to have a friend do her bidding. Classic 90's teen-angst film where the jock makes the nerd do the report that's due in 2 days, and usually the Jock has some brainless less jocky minion friend.
I actually thought I'd be gaining "cool" points for drawing Mike Ness.
No recollection of how I obtained a photo reference. AOL search, maybe.
I handed the finished sketch back to Kacey's friend and I never heard from either again.
For all I know, that Mike Ness sketch has been reduced to ash or at the bottom of a landfill somewhere in the USofA. It doesn't matter. It's just a fun little memory of my former insecure self. It's important to note that many things have changed in the last couple of decades. Knowledge, skills, insight, and drive. One of the biggest things I have learned is that without drive, talent can only get you so far. Drive came to me only in the last couple of years via encouragement and support from friends/family, self help books, therapy, and life coaching. Now, I feel as if the possibilities are limitless. Also, the exposure on the social media platforms such as Instagram and Facebook have been an incredible boost for me! Getting to share my art and having my followers see what I can do and some of them requesting commissions still always surprises and excites me. That's why posting photos of your art (present and past) on almost a daily basis will always increase your chances of fruitful opportunities.
Before I conclude....I would be remiss not to mention that the "Karate Kid" fight scene you see below was my first commissioned painting. My good friend, Lar Norgaard, is the first person to offer me money to paint something. This was a gift for her husband's birthday done in watercolor on 12"x16" watercolor paper. Always will be grateful to friends and family who appreciate art, believe in and support you.
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