I've been (kind of) keeping a secret.
So I feel like I've been lying to you guys for the past few years (or at least a lie by omission)... people who know me in real life know this about me, but those out there in the online community may not have realized that I am in fact, NOT a full-time artist. Since graduating college, I've consistently maintained a part-time job while painting part-time. But that all changes now -- I have left my part-time position to be a full-time artist! (well, full-time mom, too. But I'll get to that in a bit.)
I have been so, so blessed to work for incredible companies that have been some of the biggest cheerleaders in supporting my art career. From my very first job out of college, I have been very intentional with where I chose to work-- seeking places that would inspire me, teach me, and respect my desire to pursue art. Initially working at the coolest art center in Southern Maryland -- shout out to the crew at Annmarie Sculpture Garden and Arts Center!! The hours were long, the pay was little, but it fed my creative soul and built many relationships I still have today -- in fact, they even invited me to be a juror and curate a "Sky" inspired show last year!
Since then I have worked in a bit of a different field, Accounting! (I was an art major in college, but also minored in Mathematics, and am kinda a numbers and spreadsheets nerd!) Working for the hippest company in my hometown -- a holdings company that owns a marketing and design firm, movie theaters, and most recently opened a restaurant. HighRock Group has been those cool kids I always hoped would invite me to sit at their lunch table, and finally two years ago the perfect opportunity arose to join their team. Their entrepreneurial spirit has taught me so much these past two years, and fed my soul as a business owner.
Up until this point, I have always felt balanced and inspired by both worlds of art and accounting -- the colorful, open-endedness of painting against the black and white of numbers and spreadsheets made sense to me. It was a balance I felt comfortable with (but perhaps stagnant in.) But now enter a little boy named Edward Avery, and that whole balance gets flipped upside down. To be a good mom, I just know I can't make all three work, which has helped make this decision to leave my job that much easier. Logistically to make mom/artist life work, we have chosen a daycare provider for Ward three days a week, to give me solid studio time. The other days of the week, I'm going to leave flexible as baby time at home, and some days bringing him into the studio with me depending on my projects/commitments at the time.
I am now over six years into this art journey, since graduating college, and am just now taking the leap to full-time. I have slowly, but steadily grown my online presence and community of collectors and have reached a point financially where I feel confident (with a whole lot of anxiety thrown in) that I can make this work and contribute to my household.
I really believe you DON'T have to be a starving artist to follow your passion; you just need to be strategic in the decisions you make, keep art a priority, but also be realistic. Over the next few months I'll be using this blog to write more on my path to this point in my career -- I'm afraid there's no get rich quick secrets, but I'll share a few tricks of the trade and what's made the most impact for me.
As always, THANK YOU for coming along on this journey. It's all only possible because of you guys! Comment below with any specific art/business questions you'd like me to answer on this blog platform. (I'm going to *try* to blog weekly!)
with love, Allie.