I have always drawn, painted, and created in general. The moment my Mother let me scribble on some paper with a pencil, that was it. I was hooked. Art was always the best part of the day, I spent my free time playing video games or creating, I spent my extracurricular activities taking classes at the community centre or doing something else creative there ( I danced, was in plays, etc), my summers were filled with art ( I was either creating or dancing), even my electives in high school allowed me to spend half my days in the art studios some semesters.
Growing up, being the oldest kid in my family by at least 7 years, I happened to be the only one interested in art (although I do have a couple talented family members now). My family has creative people in it; people who write, craft, sew, crochet but I am the artist. I feel very fortunate to come from a family of creative people even if they don’t see themselves that way. Art has always been apart of my life and my family, luckily, encouraged that. They were the ones trying to steer me into an artistic path when it came time to decide what I wanted to do with my life. They even suggested I become a tattoo artist, I mean, really… what family does that? I love them for that, so much. I was the one that fought back against initially following art into the business world. It just didn’t seem like a viable option to me and I had other interests that seemed like they would be more stable, more lucrative. I love psychology, criminal psychology, biology, sociology, history, and even anthropology. Clearly I love to know why and how we work. My first career choice in high school was to go into the forensic sciences. That didn’t pan out, I didn’t take into account that I wouldn’t be able to do anything that required math (I have a mathematical learning disability), that and I hate it.
So, I found some more inspiration in my life and went with social work. It was similar to some of the things I already wanted to get in to and as an added bonus I could help people, which also happened to be a passion of mine. Going into social work wasn’t a mistake, I loved it and I was really truly good at it; I even graduated with honours. Towards the end of my social work program I realized that I hadn’t created anything in almost 2 years. I had a desire to pick up a pencil and let that part of me out. I had been so caught up in school and in life, that I just didn’t realize that such a large part of me was missing. As I was about to graduate and trying to figure out what to do once school was done ( find a full-time job in the field of social work) I felt unfulfilled. The idea of this didn’t excite me, it made me reflect instead. All of those years pushing back against art I had suddenly felt so stupid for thinking that way. Now that I had social work under my belt I felt like this was it, I could really go for it. I could go to art school and I would have social work to fall back on if I needed it. I got brave. In my mind I had taken the risk out of going to art school and pursuing the career I knew I was more passionate about. Realistically, it isn’t any more of a cushion to fall back on than anything else but it was what my mind needed for that push, it was my way of rationalizing going for my dreams. I am so glad I did. So, off I went to art school.
My life didn’t go exactly as planned ( does it ever?) even once I was in art school. I was almost done my first trimester of my first pregnancy at my art school graduation. I ended up having some health issues during this time. Life was once again taking over. I kept my part-time shoe selling job as long as I could ( it helped support me through college) during my pregnancy but I did have to stop working there as the complications in my pregnancy progressed.
In this time I was trying to figure out what I could do for work while not being able to work and with a Fine Art Studio background. I found some online options (society 6 being the one I went with) and I uploaded a few of my pieces there. As I could manage I made some more to stick up but I wasn’t able to regularly work on this. Needless to say, nothing happened with my art career in this time. My shop didn’t magically take off with the whole 3 things I had available. No one was banging down my door to buy my work, no one was even SEEING my work and I wasn’t creating anymore.
Once my son was born I was obviously very busy with him. Just after 8 months postpartum I realized that I had done this to myself yet again. I had pushed aside this part of me. I had pushed my dreams aside. Is becoming a Mother the best excuse ever for not focusing on art? Absolutely but that wasn’t the only reason. I had just let it all slip in the ups and downs of life. So, I went out on my birthday and grabbed myself my very first small set of Copic Markers because I had been eyeing them for so long. I slowly brought art back into my life. I even created my art channel on YouTube. I didn’t take it very seriously until about 6 months later ( mostly because of trouble we were having with our internet and service providers, we went months without any internet during this time).
As I got going I got pregnant again, this time health issues on top of raising an incredibly active toddler that could give any monkey a run for its money. I had to let it slip again. I tried so hard to hold on this time but it just didn’t happen. After I was induced and my second son was born I went into heart failure and was readmitted to the hospital at 3 days postpartum. Luckily, we had caught it fast enough that we were able to remove the fluid around my heart before it caused any damage. Although I struggled with fluid retention and lingering issues after this happened I was and still am fine in those regards. This was a huge wake up call for me, as I am sure it would be for most people. I didn’t wait this time. Shortly after I was back from the hospital I started creating again ( The first piece I did after my Second Son, Benjamin, was born is pictured below entitled “Birthday Bear”). I slowly built it up. I did stuff for myself, I found some illustration work, I put more work up on Society6, and I redid this website. I was working towards something now. I was working towards what I had wanted to do my whole adult life, so far. I had some set backs, I let life take hold every now and then. I had emergency surgery that set me out for a good month or so. I didn’t let it keep me down this time though, as soon as I was able I jumped back in.
I have learned my lesson, I will always keep pushing I will always be creating and I will always remember what a large part of me art is. I have the best reasons for pushing now. I have two amazing boys who look up to me. I want them to fight for what they want in life, I want them to always be pushing and always be true to themselves. I know there are other artists out there with similar struggles and I want to help you with them. I want to encourage the arts in everyone; whatever your age or stage may be. The arts are beneficial to everyone. In fact, I had seriously considered combining my two career paths into one with art therapy. Although I have ultimately decided that I am not going in that direction I am still able to help people through art the way I am now.
I am an artist because I love to create. I am an artist because I love to provide social commentary. I am an artist because I love to help bring other people’s visions to life; there is something magical about creating something for someone that was once something they could only picture in their minds. I am an artist because this is what I love, this is what I am passionate about. I am an artist because I am good at this and I am proud to be one. I am an artist and I am here because I want to and can help others in their creative journey.
Art was always there, even when I pushed it to the back. My life was always meant to be the creative journey of an artist. Looking back, I have no doubt about that. I am exactly where I should be.
If you take anything from reading this I hope that it is: it is NEVER too late to follow your dreams and to always go for what you want in life.
Why and how did you become an artist? I would love to hear your story, my Creative Friend!