Growing up I loved to draw. I was one of those kids who would spend hours after school drawing horses and Garfield and the simply dreamy members of the band Duran Duran. People told me I should be an artist when I grew up and yet I never wanted to be an artist. For some unknown reason, my concept of an artist was a person who sat in a cubicle all day drawing someone else's designs over and over. I didn't want to draw what other people told me to draw. Plus, I thought artists were irreversibly poor and, here is the truth, smelly. Yes, my teenager image of a "real" artist was a man (not a woman) who basically gave up creature comforts and personal hygiene for the sake of his art. I liked beds and clean clothes and a sense of financial security too much to consider a career in art. So I went to University to study something practical. And while I was there, I was again told I should do something with my art. I was introduced to a man who painted murals. I wasn't looking for a job, only advice about how to go about getting paid to paint pictures on people's walls to supplement my income while in school. Never mind the fact I had practically no experience using paint. No matter...I bought some illustration board and a few paints from the craft store and painstakingly painted (with VERY small brushes) some of the character animals I'd created.
Roger Dolin, founder of Mural Environments, was incredibly generous with his advice.
Three days later he offered me a job. He couldn't guarantee me steady work and the pay was $4/hour less than what I made at my current job, but I accepted his offer anyway.
I worked with Roger for 3 years, during which time I learned more from him and am more grateful than I can say. I started my own business after graduating in 1994 and have been a professional, full time artist ever since.
There's so much more to say about how I got from there to here, which is one of the reasons I wanted to create this space. I have learned a lot from being a self-supporting artist for over 20 years, knowledge which seems to me to fly in the face of some of the stereotypes about what it means to be an artist. I want to share some of the things I've learned; things about art and the process of making art, about running a business and dealing with customers.
And most importantly, as an artist, I want to share my art.
Because while I never wanted to be an "artist" when I as younger, today I can't imagine being anyone else.