In the beginning...
It was about a year ago on October 15, 2013 that I started doing this independent artist thing... Well technically it was when I first made my Facebook page. In that time frame I have learned so much: managing a fan base, creating a steady stream of work, creating a body of work, time management, and so on. Being an artist, I've learned is a work in progress. I never would have thought I would have done something like this a few years ago; although my gut believes otherwise. I feel as if I have experienced decades of lessons just by struggling this whole year. I haven't made any money what-so-ever through my art since I have started.
At the beginning of all of this I had a very tiny savings, a bunch of student debt, a part-time job at retail (along with temp positions I worked with seasonally at my college, SVA), piling bills, a dying company and no fan base. Since that point, I now have: A website, a massive amount of illustrations, a body of work (100% Inked), gotten into contests, a small but growing fan base (with a bunch of great data due to them), and the certainty that this is what I want to do with my life. Of course there are things I still have that have lingered with me, such as my now dead company, piling bills, student debt, a part-time job at retail (along with temp positions I still work at) and I still live at home (love you momma). Even with all the pressure to succeed and being poor, I haven't felt this alive and at peace with who I am. To call the mental and monetary burdens I have a struggle is an understatement, but this past year has been one of learning to let go and paving the way for my future. I have so many people to thank for encouraging me to persevere and believing in what I want to do.
Onward and upward
This past year has engrained in me a sense of purpose so strong that I can't begin to describe it. Even if I'm forced to work several jobs to keep myself financially stable, I have such a drive to succeed that I believe I can still continue to grow and better myself as an artist. A few months ago, while hanging around SVA, I was asked to write a 300 word blog about what life was like after graduation (I actually never wrote that blog for them, so here it is). The truth is that it is pretty brutal. Around this time, I believe your average graduate will be losing friends and family (due to traveling, pursuing of dreams- which is awesome, growing apart and other factors). You have a poor job market and representatives that don't care the least bit about you, and possibly so much debt that if you haven't had a breakdown of some kind you are an exceptionally gifted person. That said, I think that if you can wade through all of that nonsense and 'follow your bliss(ters)' that you will find a lot of meaning and purpose in your life.
I experienced a wide range of emotions this past year that I never thought I would have and I am much stronger due to those experiences. I'm very excited to see what the next year brings me and I have a much, much better plan of attack than I did last year. I have a lot of projects scheduled and I'm going to be smarter when it comes to social media. The goal for next year is to accrue enough money through my website where I don't have to work a part-time or temporary job while continuing to expand my fan base. I really hope next year I can make another 'anniversary' post, but the truth is that I have no idea what the future will hold, just that I'm going to continue to fight to keep my head above water and follow my dream of being an independent artist. I have you, my friends, family and fans to thank for keeping me afloat. Thank you, and cheers.