The ever-changing adventures of an artist’s life on the journey to conquering the industry
The Lie & One Decision
Maybe it’s because we spend so much time creating. Maybe it’s because we spend even more time working a job we hate so we can pay bills and leave our free time to create. Orrrr maybe you’re not creating at all. WHATEVER the reason is, I’m sure someone else meant to put out a guide on how to survive and thrive as an artist in business. Like, we know you have to work, we know being a responsible adult is important, but man! I wish someone would’ve handed me the keys to successfully navigating an artist’s life in a non-artistically run world.
“They love the work we create but ridicule the life we live to produce the work they love.”
So…here we are! A guide…well, of sorts. Maybe, much like myself, you’ve been trying (unsuccessfully) to fit in and do the mundane work, live within the confines of what the culture at large deems to be socially acceptable, all while creating your vision. On the side.
How’s that’s working out?
If, like me, you’ve done all of that, and it’s left you annoyed and slightly miserable, then good! You’re in the right place! Now you’re (I’m) in a space where you’re forced to make things work. Because you absolutely cannot FATHOM spending another second pursuing work you hate. Furthermore, you can’t justify another 3-5 years working for someone else, pretending to care, while your ideas float away into the artistic abyss of “when I have time…”.
Sooo…(side eye to eye roll) how do we break free?
Glad you (I) asked. We get clear. Like, away from the noise of modern living, out in the natural preserve with just you, a pen, journal and Jesus-type clear. Like, I’m not gonna leave this spot until I have some answers-clear. And you take that clarity and run with it! Because now that you have a sense of direction/instruction on what step to take next, you must pick up the pace now more than ever. For if you slow down, you’ll turn around, look back and find it chasing you down.
The wide-spread myth that’s been perpetuated and intentionally thrown at all mankind for ages that we are just one thing. One career path. That we should just pursue something calm and noiseless.
For in that lie, you will find the foundational demise and intentionally gradual decay of the artist. While it may be logical, even necessary, for others to pursue one arena at a time, for this artist this is death. It forces us back into a corner we never lived in. It plays mental and emotional games with your soul, telling it to get stable and settle down. But no matter how loud, fast and intimidating this lie may seem, much like fear you must realize it’s just not true—for you. For people who solely love working in offices, hospitals, board rooms and court rooms surrounded by variations of brown, tan, black and white walls and décor with very little plant life…it’s not a lie. It’s actually truth! But again…you’re an artist!
On a last minute retreat four years ago, I spent 7 days in a time share outside Miami. Eating, sleeping, working out, sight-seeing—and praying. Praying a LOT. Journaling and talking to God about my make-up. About whyyyy He created me like this but it didn’t seem to make sense to many people. For the life of me, I couldn’t understand why my life “wasn’t working” (insert awkward hand gestures here). And from that retreat, I walked away with clarity. Clarity about the core parts of me. An artist, educator and evangelist. As it turns out, these roles ooze from my pores and general being no matter where I am or task I’m undertaking. But this ONE bit of information radically transformed my thinking. It helped me to see where I’d been missing “it” this whole time!? Marshawn Evans-Daniels in “Believe Bigger” talks about working in fields we’ve become proficient in through training and time and calling it our passion. And sadly, I’d done the same. BUT! No artist has to stay there!!?!
So…I made a decision.
The great news is that technology has drastically advanced soo much that creating the life you literally imagine. Now…while life continuously hands you situations you can’t control, you DO have the ability to work around those situations in a way that allows the artist in you to truly live.
If this sounds impossible, too much like a fairy tale or romcom movie, I get it. At first glance, it really can look that way. But! If you will take a moment (once you get clear, of course) and D E C I D E to change things, you’ll find that re-positioning your life is more achievable than you ever thought possible.
Nope! It won’t be easy! Bad/hard/challenging days lay ahead, you WILL want to quit, aaaand people WILL misunderstand, mock, and talk about you.
And that’s…ok. Nobody dies!
I’ve decided to use my core roles to move my life forward. *Yes, yes…to pay my bills. After completing (and jackin up) the final sketches for my t-shirt line…I have to go back. And do it again! After all this time designing, sketching, and using photoshop, you would’ve thought I would’ve made my lines darker smh. Anyway (deep breath). It’s a lesson learned…and it felt A-MAZING getting it out! Stay tuned for the update, FINAL t-shirts (for real for real).
Welp, there it is for now. I want encourage you, fellow artist. You are NOT alone! There are tons of artists EVERYWHERE going through similar (if not the same) things. You can do this! No matter what responsibilities you may have, you have a greater responsibility to yourself, the artist, to realign with how you were created. This is how we truly make the world better, right? So get creative, ask for help, take some time, and get alone to get CLEAR!
Until next time…