I made this piece last year when I was just returning to painting. I took a two year hiatus having just finished grad school. I was shifting focus, working tirelessly to pivot my career into Graphic Design. It took some time and I struggled to find and shift into a career path that incorporated my creative passions yet provided me with a comfortable lifestyle.
I made this work shown above in my one-bedroom apartment, feeling like I was working in a vacuum having just moved back to L.A. after living in the Bay Area for seven years. Much of my art community was rooted in the Bay Area, and when I was in school I used to working in a spacious studio, surrounded by other working artists.
I had a lot of doubts about continuing with art, I was nearly resolved to abandon it entirely after the struggle I had been through with my career. Being an artist requires a lot of resources, time, and energy (both physical and emotional), that I just wasn’t sure I could muster. Art for art’s sake started to seem less compelling, I didn't feel like I had anything significant to make work about. What was the point?
At the same time, I couldn't stay away from art world either. Being an artist often means seeing and thinking differently, and the art world is its own very distinct reality. It has its own language, creative process, and has its own reference points that I am very familiar with having studied it for so many years. The art world can be welcoming and open-minded. It is, at times, utopian. I still felt a part of it. It was still very much ingrained in my identity: at my core, I am an artist.
But something shifted in 2018, around the time of my 27th birthday, that set these desires in motion and brought me some success. I was craving spontaneity and adventure beyond the routine, some way to bring back wonder and awe into my life. And then suddenly the chance to share a studio space with friends came to me, I had to make a choice quickly of whether to take it or not, and decided to make the leap.
This set in motion my journey back into the art world and into the new L.A. art landscape. So much has developed this year with good luck and hard work. I now make it to openings and have made connections with other artists, curators, and advisors. I’ve rekindled my past connections with former mentors and colleagues. I have made new work and deepened my art practice, having more space to go inward (outside of the pressure cooker environment of grad school). I share a studio with friends and participated in two open studios. I recently sold and shipped out a large piece to a design firm in Chicago. I just participated in an empowering group show hosted by Maiden LA, an organization that aims to dissolve hierarchies within the art world.
Many of these opportunities came about through serendipity and chance, things falling into place and life just flowing. What I’ve learned from all this is: commit to your art, believe in yourself, envision your desires, pay attention to the signs, and take every opportunity.
Here's what I've taken with me:
Your work has value.
Make the work without judgement.
Don't overthink it.
Trust the process.
Make a mess.
Keep your eyes open.
Support other artists.
Own your power.
Be grateful, humble, open.
Things will manifest and surprise you. ✨
Recommended reading: The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success