One year ago today, I said goodbye to my coworkers, cleaned my desk for the last time and retired my name tag that read, Gallery Coordinator. It was a decision long in the making, but not an easy one. So much of what I did at the Rosewood Gallery made me incredibly happy and I was praised by artists and coworkers, which filled me with pride. This part-time position gave me the opportunity to network with artists from around the world and allowed me a few open days in the studio while having a steady income. So why leave?
While at work in the gallery, I would daydream about being able to stay in the studio all day. Tinkering away like a jolly hermit, making work for gallery shows in LA, NYC and beyond. The perfect artist existence. So for my 40th birthday, my husband gave me his blessing and I made the leap into the unknown. At first, I focused on the business side of matters, then quickly realized that I was feeling lost and that each day did not fill me with the happiness I anticipated. I was lonely, stressed and depressed. Crap.
In the winter of 2015, I took an online course that suggested they could teach participants everything they wanted to know about the major gallery scene and how to become a part of it. It was not cheap and after the second class, I feared I had just thrown away a chunk of money. The art and artists they focused on were not my "scene," and I almost quit several times out of frustration. Finally, I decided that I had already invested the money and that I needed to stick with it and glean whatever I could from the course. We watched interviews with various art consultants, collectors, gallery owners and artists. Each one took a different path, but everyone said the same thing, you have to know yourself and what you want so you can achieve it, otherwise you will wonder aimlessly.
That really resonated with me and started asking myself what I REALLY wanted to accomplish with my life. I came up with three simple goals that seemed to be true to me:
1. Make art that is fun, challenging and fills me with pride.
2. Be a part of my community and give back in some way. Fame was not necessary, but human contact was essential.
3. LIVE! = be happy, have adventures, be present and enjoy the little things and not stress out about the "woulda, coulda, shouldas."
So here I am at my one year anniversary, life is good and I am happy. Twice every week I put myself into the community and paint live at the Dayton Racquet Club. My little side project, Art Hops, is connecting me with local creatives and is giving me a chance to create new content that I hope will inspire others. In the fall, I won't be showing in LA or NYC, but I have several local gallery shows that I am looking forward to presenting. The library has honored me with several large-scale public art commissions. I have traveled to NYC by myself and tend after my garden in the backyard. Most importantly, my newest artwork is meeting all of my criteria and then some!
Bring on the next year!