"I am an artist, but it has taken me a long time to get to the point where I can say that about myself without including any sort of a self-deprecating preamble."
Tell us about your creative journey.
I am an artist, but it has taken me a long time to get to the point where I can say that about myself without including any sort of a self-deprecating preamble. I am actually trained as a scientist - I have a Bachelor’s degree in Neuroscience and a Master’s degree in Cell Biology. It’s a long, winding story, but for as much as I learned through my training to get those degrees, I was never really happy when I was working in my field. It takes a special kind of person to be a research biologist, and I was not that kind of person. When my first daughter was born, I left my career to stay home and raise her. After staying home for several years, I realized that even though I didn’t want to go back to work in the typical sense, I wanted and needed a creative outlet for myself. I did a bunch of different things to try to scratch that itch, but it wasn’t until I discovered art that I really felt like I had found my thing.
I never knew how to draw, and I never did anything with paint other than roll it on a wall in my house. But I went to one of those wine and paint nights where they walk you through the steps of a painting while you chill with your girlfriends, and I just loved it. I realized that art was no different from any other skill - it could be taught - and I was eager to learn. So, I took a ton of different art classes and just started making things for people, and then more people started asking me to make things for them… so eventually I decided to open up an Etsy shop and see if I could sell it to strangers, as well.
The more that I paint and the more that I learn and explore different styles and techniques, the more that I feel like all of this art was always inside of me. It just never knew how to get out.
What's your biggest challenge as a creativepreneur?
My biggest challenge is that there is no handbook for this. I can’t tell you how many stupid things I type into google on a daily basis because running my own creative business means that I need to wear all of the hats. I’ve googled my way to competency on everything from figuring out Photoshop to understanding sales tax nexus. It can be overwhelming at times to be honest, and sometimes I feel like I am doing everything the hard way. But I try to take a step back and look at how far I’ve come, and how much I’ve learned since I started this thing, and it’s a good feeling to see that I’ve taught myself so much.
What's your advice for other creativepreneurs for creating courageously?
Baby steps. I say this all of the time, but I have come to realize that it’s exactly the way that my business was built, and I can look back and see that only through a series of baby steps was I able to get anywhere. I tend to get analysis paralysis - like if there are too many options for anything, I can’t chose any of them. And I won’t start something because I can’t figure out the entire process. Literally, not being able to decide what kind of paper to print my art prints on kept me from moving forward for much longer than I want to admit.
But I’ve learned that I have to force myself to shut it all out and just creep forward in whatever direction I can move in without having a panic attack. Do that one tiny thing that you know you can do today, make one itty bitty baby decision and don’t second guess it. Then tomorrow, do one more tiny thing. Pretty soon, the tiny things aren’t as scary, so your steps get bigger without any effort, and then one day you’ll turn around and go, “Oh my gosh, look how far I’ve come!”
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