Making my art dream a reality

I did it! It's real! The first six Heartgirl prints are up in my Etsy shop!!!

Heartgirl prints on Etsy

You guys, I don't even know where to begin. This is SUCH a big accomplishment for me. I've dreamt of "being a real artist" for such a long time... As much as I've done art since I was old enough to hold a paintbrush, and even sold the odd painting or sewn item back in university, I was convinced it was just something I did as a hobby to pass the time.

But it isn't just a hobby - it's MY THING. It's always been my thing. And as incredibly challenging as it's been, I've finally squashed my serious case of impostor syndrome... I AM AN ARTIST!

This might sound cheesy but I don't even care anymore. I have been stifling and minimizing this huge part of myself for my entire adult life, and it feels so amazing to let it out. To claim it as mine, and write it all over the sky - or internet as things would have it.

I was thinking back today as I was finishing up the Etsy listings, and going back through my mind to where things shifted... to where I started taking it seriously. And what popped into my head was that I did a Google Hangout workshop with Rena Tom (founder of Makeshift Society) just over a year ago. It was just a one time thing - a few hours talking about branding, business planning, etc. Frankly, I was kind of in over my head...but I needed to hear what was being said, and I needed to be told the truth: that there was a lot of work to put in, and I had barely grazed the surface. I knew this in theory, but I hadn't really understood it until then.

All those years, I think I had been waiting for some magic fairy dust to be dropped on my head, so the world would realize I was an ARTIST so then I could be an ARTIST. What?! Just a little backwards.

That workshop left me with one clear message: I had a LOT of work to do. 

I wasn't sure if my business licence and tax set up was in order. My "brand" was still pretty all over the place, and I didn't have any art that was actually polished enough to do anything with. Didn't really know how to get it to a "professional" and polished state. Didn't know how to price things. How to produce them. How to package it up properly. I had a lot to learn, and then a lot to actually put into practice.

But it's unrealistic

That's what's imprinted on my cells when I think about art: it's unrealistic.

And in case you're new around here, it so happens that I am not well. Put two and two together, and you have me embarking on a completely unrealistic 180 on my career aspirations, during a time when I don't have the energy to embark on much more than my next doctor's appointment.

It's unrealistic. I didn't go to art school.

It's unrealistic. My technique isn't refined enough.

It's unrealistic. I'm not familiar enough with the tools.

It's unrealistic. I'll be broke.

It's unrealistic. I'm sick.

It's unrealistic. Everyone already did it all before I even thought about doing it.

It's unrealistic. I'll be disowned by my family.

I have to live my own life

I don't care about unrealistic. Not anymore. I can't.

I spent all my "healthy" (such a hugely relative term, that's another story) years living lives designed by others. I did it willingly, but only because I was desperate for acceptance and approval. When I realized that no matter how hard I tried, others may never accept or approve of me, it gave me the freedom to prioritise what mattered to me. This is when everything changed.

More recently, I admitted to myself the thing that nobody wants to admit: I may never feel better than I do right now. I could, and that would be great. Or I could be like this forever. Or things could get worse. And please don't tell me they won't, because it won't change reality: that so far no matter how hard I've tried, I haven't been getting better.

So what am I waiting for? Nothing.

The only time is now

Tomorrow or six months from now or three years from now... it's all a dream. Today exists, and so every day that I've been able to, I've chipped away at my dream. It's been so terribly slow, but lots of tiny bits of progress add up. 

Before I even thought it was possible, I've accomplished something that seemed unrealistic. I've made it my reality. This is my proof. I made art. Art I'm proud of. And I put it out into the world. I am an artist.

Heartgirl print "Don't be afraid to be who you are"

I've been drawing and writing down the things I need to hear. I know I'm not alone. I hope my drawings bring you as much comfort and hope as they've brought me.