I love the internet. Through it I have found my “tribe”. Many wonderful opportunities have come about because of my digital life and my whole life is richer because of them. I found my voice, clarified my ambitions and had the courage to work towards them, all because of the internet. I will not have a bar of the “internet is bad/scary” vibe that is given off in the media and perpetuated by non-users in conversations at the checkout and in the lunch room. I do love the internet!
I’ve had lots of “…maybe I could do that” moments while looking at the doings of others. (I aspire to be one of those people on the internet who provoke that response in you!) Some of it I have gone ahead and done and I must say there is nothing nicer than “I did that!” And of course, I’ve read lots of articles about doing what you love, following your passion and living your dreams. I don’t think there has ever been a place more suited to that kind of idea than the internet. Or a field more suited to it than art making.
Two Women Who Have “Made It”
I’m going to talk about two of the people I’ve “watched” (trying not to sound stalker-ish), Melissa Averinos and Serena Star Leonard. Both have very little in common beyond this article! I hope they don’t mind me lassoing them here.
In order to explain my near obsession with Melissa I must first confess an addiction to workroom porn. I love photos of studios, craft rooms, work rooms, even offices. I can’t get enough of how creative people are and how their work space reflects that. Anyway, Melissa posted a series of to die for photos of her workroom at the back of the little shop she had just opened way back in January 2009. I was in love. I said addiction and I meant it. I kept going back to her blog hoping she would post more and more photos like it. Turned out she was a lot more than just decor and I would dutifully read her blog posts in spite of the fact she didn’t show me more of the photos I wanted. (…And then I would click back in time and look at those photos again!)
Oh dear, I’ve just realised I have to confess another obsession along the way in this story! I LOVE pattern and colour and sooth my obsessive soul by buying fabric. (I took up patchwork simply to have a reason to buy more fabric.) I’ve always dreamed of designing fabric and lo and behold, Melissa did just that! A lovely funky retro-vibed, colour effusive set of fabric designs, which of course I had to buy, after all I “knew” the designer!
She had the perfect workspace, a gorgeous little shop, a fabric range, was selling her own paintings in her shop, what more could this girl do that I coveted?
A little skip in the story now to Serena Star Leonard. I met Serena (not “met” this time as it was a real analogue meeting) a couple of years ago in a personal development course. She was such an interesting person! She had given up her career and was writing a book on “How To Retire In 12 Months” while she was actually doing it! I was more than a little bit fascinated and could see the road ahead to my workroom/shop/fabric range/successful art career was going to be paved with “retiring” from my day job (I never really acquired a career). I bought her book when it first appeared and signed up for her Website Launchpad course and birthed “The Artling”.
Meanwhile, Serena was retiring – in her own special way. She sold just about all she owned, organised her working life so she could do it from anywhere in the world whenever she wanted to and set off to travel the world and live the life of “no fixed abode” indefinitely. Serena’s passion also includes helping others so she forged a partnership with World Vision and started her own fund raising project as well. Not shabby at all! I’m pretty much a home body and love to love my space, so endless world travel is not a draw card for me, however, her exciting approach is of course, transferable to many different lifestyles.
What are my dreams?
The plans I had for “The Artling” stalled (due to reasons outlined in my last post) and I am now at the point where I either pick it up again and run or file it under “not quite” and move on. My mind is asking questions of me. Have I failed? Will I fail again if I try again? What if I’m successful and a) get too busy, b) run out of art and/or c) get sidetracked (again)? My other mind is answering them. You are a successful artist. You didn’t fail, and your success will grow. You will deal with a, b and c because you will have suddenly switched personalities and become organised, efficient and perfect but without the negative side effects perfectionism brings. Oh dear. I’m confused!
How do we bring about our life of dreams?
Melissa threw a spanner in the works with her recent post in which she honestly discusses the real facts of her life (and I must say, I again found a reason to admire her). She is closing her shop (for a variety of reasons) and has gone back to working a day job. Turns out being a famous designer isn’t necessarily enough to pay the bills. She does have a fabulous attitude to it though.
Serena is living her life of dreams and will soon be offering her Website Launchpad course again for another bunch of people who are ready to live theirs. (I hope you’ll join in. Serena is a dynamo!) In writing this I’ve come to realise that while I see the reality in Melissa’s situation I still believe it is possible to emulate Serena.
Is it possible to follow your passion and order a side of realism?
Truthfully, I think it’s the best way. My dream is to create the art I want to make and have a market for it whilst being surrounded with like minded people – my “tribe”. I know my local market is too small to be able to contribute more than just a little to that dream. The internet provides access to a world of possible friends, customers and opportunities. I think I know what my decision is. I won’t be filing “The Artling” away, but reinvigorating it and building it up to be what I dreamed in the first place. And keeping it real – in the true sense of the words.
The drawings in this post are from my 365 day challenge “An Emotional Year”. I’m making a tiny drawing a day of a different emotion. I don’t actually do them every day. It is my goal, but I don’t always get it done. I post them to my 365 day challenge page intermittently and you can see others there.
Pigma Micron and ink.