Had you told me that 2016 would be the year I would burn out, take a month long vacation, spend part of said vacation in Santorini floating in the Aegean sea on my back so I could keep the salty water from stinging the stitches I would get after that near death motor bike accident, and quit my crazy but secure six figure salaried day job for my beautiful no-where-near-six-figure dream job, I would’ve said “GTFOH, who me?”
But then it all happened. Twenty sixteen will forever be known as my LEAP year!
Adjusting to my new normal - full-time artist and creative entrepreneur - hasn’t been easy. In fact, it’s been really hard especially managing my mood, being a team of one and dealing with inconsistent cash flow. No book or blog prepares you to leap from the known into the unknown. Sure these tools help with business basics - business models, marketing, and branding - but they do little to prepare you for the non stop emotional rollercoaster. The constant anxiety, the loneliness, the always wanting to throw up, the sleepless nights, the 15-hour work days, the feelings of nothing being enough, and the never ending to do lists.
Nothing really prepares you for all of that. Knowing why you made the leap in the first place and keeping your WHY squarely before your eyes helps tremendously though.
As I start this new year and my fourth month of making art full-time, I need an anchor, something that I can wrap my whole self around as I chart these new to me waters. I can’t remember the last time I chose a word to ground my year, but it’s time to resurrect the practice. And after lots of prayer, mediation and stillness, my word arrived.
My 2017 word is STEADY.
Steady adjective | \’ste-dē\
1 a: direct or sure in movement
b: firm in position
c: keeping nearly upright in a seaway
2: showing little variation or fluctuation
3 a: not early disturbed or upset
b: constant in feeling, principle, purpose, or attachment
c: not given to dissipation
And yes, I’ll take ALL of the definitions. Thank you Merriam-Webster. I love that my word isn't pretentious or full of great expectations. Sure, I'm expecting to thrive in my art practice and business this year but I'm not putting any unrealistic pressures on myself. None of this six-figures in six-weeks non-sense.
When I started my public health practice after getting my MPH in 2006, I earned $51,500 dollars a year as an analyst. When I left my job four months ago, I left as a Senior Director supering growing teams of Directors and junior staff. I earned $112,000 dollars doing so. I say it not to boast, but to remind myself that at the beginning of every new career there's a starting point, a bottom of sorts. I'm ok with that. I'm OK with the fact that at age 36, I decided to start over, to start a new career as a professional artist pimping her wares and services in-person and online.
My ultimate goal in a nutshell is to have a thriving, prolific and profitable art career and business where I lead a small team of creatives that make fine and commercial art goods that inspire and instigate social change.
Right now though, I just want to settle into a grove where I’m present in each moment, focused on my own artwork and business, and not comparing myself or my work to anyone else’s. In this new year, I want to be clear about what I’m aiming my art and art practice at, open to new partnerships and opportunities to hone my skills and grow my business, and steady, come what may.
in love and art,
p.s. the art print shop launches on 1/15 with new collages alike the one above. yay #fineartforeveryone and every budget ;)