Two Separate Paths...
After leaving art school, like many of my peers, I came up against the fork in the road. Decision time. I had to decide on what to do next and how I was going to move forward. What I realized was that I didn’t just want to make art. (After investing seven years, dedicated to studying art and following my passion of becoming a fine artist, this was not an easy reality to swallow). However, what I discovered is that, although I loved being able to retreat to a solitary studio to create, having spent most of my childhood doing so, I actually wanted to create something louder and bigger than that. I wanted to figure out, how I could bring all of my passions together and help other people to do the same. Art, writing, researching, travelling and helping others. These were things that made me tick. We are not single faceted people, but rather specimens of abundant interests, histories and unique qualities that make up who we are, without which one can feel the notions of emptiness of areas in our lives that lack substance. What became the main challenge for me, was how I could coalesce all of these things together, find out how I could make a living doing it and on top of that show other people how to do it too.
I realized that my life was not only dedicated to making art - but it was to help other people set out to design the lives that they wanted to live. Not giving up on what they wanted to do, and not believing negative claims such as, “You cannot do what you want”. “You cannot make money doing what you want".
I just didn’t believe those claims. I knew millions of people were out there making it happen, to mention one (and leading to many others) is John Lee Dumas, an American Podcaster that interviews a different successful entrepreneur everyday, teasing out, what made them successful. Dumas, introduces us to thousands of inspiring voices not to mention his own that are living, breathing proof that the lives we so truly crave are there to make a reality, if we so choose. So I just asked myself…What can I do to fulfill my life, so that I can thereafter help other people do the same. I wasn’t convinced I would be doing enough by making good art - and I do. I didn’t want to be another struggling artist - that became bitter and poor, or another highly successful artist that wasn’t satisfied with the art world. Sure enough I hadn’t climbed all the way to the top of the art ladder - but I had a look around at what other artists and curators had experienced and I wasn’t sure that, that whole lifestyle would fulfil my dreams. Not solely to be an artist but to push people forward in their own lives and to harness a true feeling of financial and location freedom.
I return to the fork in the road I mentioned in the first paragraph - now, this decision is no easy one to make. Firstly because you have probably dedicated yourself to many years of studying a certain craft - in my case, seven years of portfolio building, fine art study and on top of that a Masters degree in Art and Humanities. All of which I really wanted, and strived through working towards my goals. Achieving multiple awards and two prestigious travel awards - I was on my way. I had everything, technically in place for the next step of the journey. Two week out of education, i had already moved to a lovely large studio space and had my work in a successful group exhibition and had three clients wanting to purchase work from me. Great! Its just, there is a hunger for more. And this is where the hard part comes in, because while all of these wonderful things that I have worked so hard for are completely paying off, I still wonder what lay ahead on the other side? Is this enough? How can you walk away from something you have worked so hard for? And genuinely wanted. Well first of all, I am NOT going to walk away from it - at least not in a black and white fashion but my discovery over the past month is that, perhaps I do not need to walk away or change course, bu merely expand and tweet the journey my ship is on.
So it came down to this. Art and Lifestyle Design. An idea that coalesces doing what you love and creating a lifestyle that you actually want to live. The truth is, there is no ONE way, to do this. Each person's design will look different. I knew that there was something huge to be learnt here but didn’t know exactly what yet. Without just being another inspirational or motivational speaker - this had to come from doing.
Letting go of the ‘how tos’, and just being honest each time I showed up; in blog posts, YouTube videos, Instagram posts or tweets. There is something to be said for consistency, but if you are so focused on the ‘how-to’ make something look a certain way and doing it on specific days just so its there - you forfeit the honesty - the real want and need to share something. If you are out in the world making changes and experiencing them for yourself then you do have something to part with that could be of value to others.
The problem with social media is that many of us (the 80 and 90’s children of this millennium) , are the 'social media-half bloods’ as I like to call ourselves because we were not born into it. We had to instead, accustom ourselves to new technology. Although we are lucky to be young enough to make a good stab at ‘keep-ing up’ with the new kids on the block, it has become a bit of a grey-area in terms of how we actually utilise these new platforms. One, because of the technical challenges in handling new software and skills, but secondly within the realm of ‘knowing’ what to post and why we are actually posting it. Is it so we can get 100 likes? Or is it because we are wholeheartedly adding value to others. If the post in question isn’t adding value, and we realise this, we panic under the consistency law and act; "I have to be consistent with this posting thing or else ill fall behind"!
This is our reality now, and for anyone who wishes to make a business or successful entrepreneurial business in 2015 better get clued up, or else face being swallowed up by the technological noise that is the internet. A daunting realisation for someone like me, a 25 year old artist whom aspires to be a successful entrepreneur. However the only thing more daunting than that is the thought of settling...settling for a conventional life that does not set out to fulfill my real passions in life. What would be the point? I leave you with a message from a wonderful lady whom learned this the hard way and in her later years, remarks;
“If you want a remarkable life, first you must choose that you want one”. - Debbie Millman