Becoming an artist was not a process that I consciously transitioned into.
I was always a child with creative interests, spending countless hours drawing, painting and playing musical instruments. Over the years, my art skills continued to develop at school and I quickly realised that the standard academic subjects such as English and Geography were of little interest to me. As a result, I would find myself spending disproportionate amounts of my time on the more creative assignments, where my grades exceeded that of my other subjects. At this stage I guess I should also admit that I have never been one for fact memorisation, which I soon discovered that a lot of academic subjects require, in order for you to succeed in them - at least when it came to exams anyway.
When it came to selecting courses for University, my heart wanted me to follow my passion and pursue a course in Fine Art, but my head and my parents both told me it would limit my employability chances as a graduate. So in 2009, I enrolled on an Industrial Design course that would still allow me to focus on my creativity, but in a more widespread applicable manner.
After four long, but for the most part enjoyable years, I proudly graduated as an Industrial Designer in July 2013. At that time, the UK was still struggling to recover from the 2008 recession, and the number of applicants for the few positions available was crazy. With older siblings that I had watched go through the same process, I was determined to not fall into the ‘unemployed grad’ category, but try as I may, interview after interview it was always the same response. “We really liked you as a candidate, but the position went to someone with more experience”. How many of you have heard the same line again and again?
In my opinion, the reality of unemployment isn't spoken publicly about enough. Yes you may hear the stats on the news, but what they fail to mention is the toll it can take on you and how it tests your character. From my experience, I was left feeling demotivated, isolated and depressed. However, not one to be easily beaten, I tried to look at the controllable variables in my life and how I could for the mean time, try to better my position and current mind set. I set myself two goals. One was to go to the gym three times a week, largely so that I had a reason to leave the house, and the second was to buy a sketchbook and give drawing a go again.
As with any hobby, following years of no practice my skills had fallen to next to non-existent. I’d lost all ability to draw in proportion and my first attempts at portraits looked like a 6 year old had drawn them. But not all was lost. From the process I had been able to zone out from the stresses of life and absorbed my mind into the art of creation. I had the freedom to try new things and explore ideas without the pressure of any expectation.
After a year of applications. One three week stint as a waitress and 13 unsuccessful design interviews. I had landed my first full time job as a Graphic designer.
Now as I’m sure most of you reading this can relate to, when you get a new job you normally have the initial excitement of the new salary, the potential growth and the new environment you will be working in. However for me, once this initial buzz had worn off, I couldn’t help but think “is this it?”. The idea of spending 8hrs a day working solely for someone else, in an unfulfilling role for the next 40 or so years played heavily on my daily thoughts.
So I made another conscious promise to myself. To keep painting at any given opportunity. If I was to come any closer to my dreams of full-time artistry it was going to have to come from within.
Overtime, as friends and family began to see what I was working towards, it was through their word of mouth and my self promotion on social media, that I began to gain my first few customers and a small following.
CREATIVE CURLS TO DATE
A 6 month attempt at full time artistry later, I am currently back working full time in order to support my dream for the time being. Whereas before I was focussing on producing bespoke portraits in order to make a living, I now wish to create a career for myself based off the work that I create that comes from within and sends a message. I realise that this will take time in order to see consistency in income but one thing that I have learnt is to actively master the art of patience. My art isn't for everybody and that’s ok. I just want to share colour, light and positivity to all those that follow. Until next time.
Creative Curls x
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