Backstage Pass

I have always been hesitant to write about my life outside of art. I enjoy having an air of mystery about myself along with a professional veneer, however, as this year begins to bloom I feel the need to be free of that conjured image. Additionally, with all the wonderful people I’ve been lucky to meet, I’ve grown a desire to connect on a more personal level to those who enjoy my work. As an artist, I’ve come to learn that the best way to fill a canvas with emotion is to pour my heart out on it with honesty. This blog entry serves to kick start that break away from pretending to be a carefree artist and dip into the deeper feelings and consequences of having such lofty goals.From the very get-go, I’ve been making an uphill trek as I pursue my dreams. When I decided to become an artist, I began with pretty much nothing by my wits and talent. That may be enough for the movies, but in real life it just makes things super hard. The past three years have seen me bumbling about at conventions, with commissions, and dealing with people who are quick to disappoint and take advantage, all while keeping a serious full-time job. Keeping my head above water sometimes felt like doggie paddling in the ocean while a storm raged.That feeling of drowning in life’s ocean is still ever present due to my constant lack of time (or lack of better time management skills). Art has yet to prove profitable or to be a source of financial stability, so I must keep a full time day job in order afford supplies and pay bills. This may not be uncommon for an artist of any sort, however, it’s still stressful to live out. Due to the nature of my job, I am allotted just three free days a week. In this time, not only must I manage to get work done on art pieces both for myself and commissions, but manage the business side to my art career, and find time for normal life stuff too like household chores and spending time with my dogs.The business side of things has been the biggest surprise I’ve encountered so far and the biggest challenge too! It still amazes me how long it can take to build a website, manage social media posts for promotion, and keep track of the financial aspect of things. (These are all things an assistant would be wonderful for!) Did I mention I do all of this learning as I go? Yup, in my pursuit of being an artist, I’ve also had to wear the hats of numerous other professions. While I generally don’t mind being so hands on, there’s always a voice in the back of head nagging me. All the time spent doing these tasks takes away from making actual art. Hell, updating my website alone generally eats up an entire day if I’m lucky not to run into any problems. That means in the course of an average weekend, I may spend one day doing website maintenance, one day taking care of life stuff, and if I’m lucky one free day to work on art pieces. There are some weeks I am far less pressed for time and get to paint and draw more, however, those weeks are rare gems.My ever present lack of time is also a factor behind my weakened confidence, as I feel I do not create enough, and without enough practice I will never reach the level of skill I aspire to have. As a self-taught artist I have always viewed my talent as raw and unrefined, and have always feared I will not be taken seriously within the art community because of that. I practice sketch when I can (even during breaks at the office I call my day job) but with time constraints, I generally move from piece to piece learning as I go. Screwing up due to inexperience is especially frustrating as it costs both time and money. Equally frustrating is knowing how 100% necessary messing up is for talent to become stronger.I have been earnestly hiding the struggling artist, the girl grasping at dreams, and the artist who must keep a day job in order to eat. I have been hiding the unglamorous side of trying to make a mountain from the stones of my life’s passion. I have pretended such integral aspects of my life don’t exist, and gained nothing positive for it. Instead, I rob my artwork of emotion and my hard work the recognition it deserves.So there you have it! In between artworks, posts, and smiles, there’s a lot of artwork not getting done, time escaping, and some frowns. And that’s all a-okay! Nothing to be ashamed of, after all that’s how dreams get accomplished.My journey may not be a glamorous one, but from this moment on it is an honest one.