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The Anxiety of Renewal and Re-Invention

October 11, 2016

 

I dare assume that most people at some point or another come to a time in their lives when they feel like they just need to do something new with themselves or in some cases become something new, someone that perhaps they always wished that they would be but the idea of change was just too much to handle at that time.  We all have our reasons for holding back, hesitating, or never taking the leap.  For 3 years my reasons included moving to a new city, in a new state, with literally knowing no one, to being completely independent financially for the first time, to a pre-existing and intense yet inconsistently debilitating anxiety disorder, to the most time consuming of them all, a brand new TEACHING PROFESSION.  Honestly the first 2 years of teaching were a blurr.  I legitimately can barely remember them and thank god because my brain's ability to render them unneccessary information is probably saving me some mental health capacity for future experiences where I have no idea what I'm doing or why I'm doing it 99% of the time.  The third year I finally felt like I had some control and was able to begin to balance personal life with professional life.  Needless to say, art making had taken a serious back burner those first few years.  I missed it constantly, I felt lost and confused, part of my identity was all of a sudden gone to figuring out this whole adulting situation.  It wasn't until the 4th year that I said no more.  It was time for change, it was time for RENEWING my soul, my spirit, and my sense of self.  I thought it would come naturally at first to be honest.  I had missed making art for myself so much that why wouldn't I just come out guns blazing producing everything in sight?  Well reality hit me pretty hard when I soon recalled that art making IS A PROCESS and figuring out how to balance work life with personal studio inspiration was also going to be.  

My latest work "Renewal" reflects on this experience of finding and renewing myself.  I felt like I had been in a fragile shell, wanting to stay in my comfort zone to appease my anxiety, yet desperately wanting to break free at the same time.  Putting my art out there again was terrifying, especially when I didn't know what direction it was going to take.  Piece by piece, I kept at it, and broke more of my protective shell away at a time.  I started with just production and worked my way in to applying for juried exhibitions in order to gain more professional feedback  and see where I stood.  As I progressed forward and received some awards, my artistic confidence grew, and I put my self out there more and more, yet with each progression, I continued to have bouts of dread, instability, and unwillingness to move forward.  Part of the reason was the exhaustion that can sometimes be caused from one job ending and another beginning an hour later.  Other reasons were getting used to rejection of the art world again, but mostly it was dealing with the feeling of failure.  I felt behind compared to college peers, I felt behind on the instagram marketing game (like what teacher has time for that), but I also was navigating this so called art world with no more advisors, no more professors, just me, figuring it out as I go, and having to convince myself to be open to trial and error along the way.  I am still dealing with these anxiety inducing situations and while I may appear to be out and making moves, I still believe I have some "cooking" to do.  I can feel the readiness building up inside me, the need to break free and truly go for it.  Until then, I will stay the course, continue to take forward steps, and soon, very soon, I will break free and explode out!  Stay tuned!

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