It’s been a dream of mine for a long time to be a full-time artist. However, like many creatives, my life didn’t exactly follow that path. I got stuck in the trap of thinking that I was supposed to have a real job and that a real job didn’t include being an artist or just any job it took to pay the bills as I perfected my craft on the side so that I could one day be a full-time artist.
After changing careers several times and doing lots of personal development work to finally accept who I am is exactly what I’ve always wanted to be – a creative that didn’t belong behind a desk in a 9-5 office environment. I’ve also learned to accept that a “real job” is performed in many different ways by many different people from all walks of life.
So whoever that voice is in your head that is feeding you the false belief that you need to have a “real job”, they need to be told that anything you do that is legal and ethical to your own values qualifies as a real job if it can support you and pay the bills. Even if you have to wait tables at night or scrub toilets in someone’s house during the day, it doesn’t really matter what the job is as long as it’s honest (IMO) and it serves a purpose in society.
The most important thing is that you never quit pursuing your passion and your art. For too long I held onto this dream, collected all the tools and materials, but then never allowed myself to fully dive in. I’d do little projects here and there, but never committed to a regular schedule to develop my talents. This summer I’m finally doing it.
Although I’ve already filled up my freelance palette with gigs alongside my travel business that’s mostly active in the summer, I’m still committed to producing a collection of jewelry for sale and learning/improving skills in other areas I’ve dabbled in just a bit, namely ceramics and painting.
So why am I even bothering to post about this here? Well, it comes down to accountability. I often tell myself I’m going to do a lot of things, but it becomes more concrete once you start telling a whole bunch of people what you are doing instead of what you wish you could do. Now I need to show results or I’ll look like an ass to anyone who could be considering me for something important that is on the horizon.
An example of a good start
I’ve already been participating in some ceramics lessons from various local ceramicists in the area. One group lesson from a few weeks ago was lead by a master of my village and the topic was on the traditional Vietri ceramics style – a naive depiction of daily life in an Italian village by the sea. The colors are typically bright and the style is intended to evoke feelings of happiness. Besides scenes of the daily life of village people, local landscapes, or colorful fruit, many animals, both real and mythological, are also found on the traditional ceramics here.
On this day with Maestro Raimondi, he sketched for me in pencil a mermaid scene (at my request) on my plate which I then chose to paint with only 3 colors as I wanted a monotone sort of look using only two shades of blue and a green. Since then I’ve painted a local landscape from a photo I took, a donkey in the style of an important immigrant Polish artist in Vietri from the 1930s, Irene Kowaliska, and I’m working on another traditional motif of intersecting fish that was first inspired from a trip to Tunisia by another important German immigrant artist around the same time of Kowaliska, Richard Doelker.
I’m enjoying learning about the traditions here in the village where I chose to live so that I’d always be surrounded by creative things to inspire me. I’m ready to purchase my own materials to practice and produce more of the Vietri ceramics as I’m still trying to get a hang of the differences in the colors you see vs. what is the outcome after firing.
I’m also imagining many ways to infuse these influences into my own medium of metalsmithing and enameling, which no longer is a tradition that is seen here, but I’ve heard was practiced at one time.
If you’re interested in seeing what I have produced for sale, visit SM-Gallery.com where I showcase my work for sale or past completed works. (Note: I’ve overhauled this site recently and I’m either taking new photos, looking for old ones, or am in the process of completing some projects so I have something to show.)