Back in April I had this crazy idea. I love receiving and sending mail. I love making small, personalised art pieces for people. Why not sell mail art subscriptions? So I did! I sold 3, 6, or 12-month subscriptions that included an envelope covered in 100% unique art and a hand-written, personalised letter. A handful of people bought them and I have spent the last 6 months making dozens of pieces of mail and sending them out into the world.
A year ago today, I published a blog post where I declared that I would give up my day job at the end of January 2018 and go full-time as an artist. It was both completely unreasonable and absolutely necessary. It filled me with energy and made me so anxious I felt sick. Today, less than three months from my self-imposed deadline, I’m looking back on how that decision has impacted my life and business and whether I’m on track to reach my goal or not.
I met Daphne when I started teaching classes at Edmonton's The Paint Spot, where she also teaches. We realized that we were both from the same small town and that we had both won a banner-painting contest in that town in separate years. Her figure paintings are incredible and it's been great getting to know someone who makes a full-time living as a fine-artist.
Over the years I’ve gathered a small collection of books about maps. I bought a few of them, a few were gifts from people who recognized my fascination for all things cartographic, and a few I’ve borrowed from the library but are still on my wishlist. To help get inspired for my upcoming workshop, Mixed-Media Map-Making, I’m revisiting my collection and remembering why maps are so inspiring. If you could use some artistic inspiration, check your local library or bookstore for these titles!
I use a lot of maps in my artwork: I cover my sculptures in maps, use them as backgrounds for my linocuts, and have started making mixed-media paintings of imaginary maps. I also collect old maps and have a couple framed in my home. The magic of maps is in the stories they tell: of the past and the future, of reality and the imagination, and of science and exploration. Here are 11 talented, inspiring artists who are telling beautiful stories through their unique use of maps.
We all have times in our lives when our commitments outweigh our energy. When we've said yes to way to many things and can't see how it will all get done. When even the things we love start to feel like a burden and we long for a bottle of wine, our couch, and all the Netflix we can handle (it’s not just me, is it?). I’m coming to the end of one of those seasons and though I am deeply tired and quite achy, I am still standing, with a much lower meltdown factor than I expected. Here are six things that have helped me survive the last month with my joy and creativity (mostly) intact.
This week, as I was writing out this Instagram post, I realized that one word has made more of a difference in my life than any other. It helps me through the worst attacks of anxiety. It strengthens my relationships. And it keeps me moving forward with my art practice and business. It’s not a word we might usually associate with strength and power but trust me, it carries plenty of both. The word is softness and despite its unassuming nature, it has utterly and completely changed my life.
Somewhere, somehow, I’ve developed a habit of trust. Trust in myself, but more importantly, trust in the process of creation itself. Somewhere I’ve become convinced that if I give my all to a creative project, it will give me something in return. I will struggle, and I will very possibly fail, but the effort will be worthwhile no matter what.
I don’t strive to be a full-time artist so that I can feel burned out and anxious. I do it so that I can feel fulfilled, challenged, connected and joyful. And when I’m not feeling that way, I know something is wrong. This is because I’ve done a lot of work around figuring out how I want my life to feel, instead of just making a list of accomplishments to check off as I go. Most of the time, we’re encouraged to set goals based on outward measures of success. But when we’re not clear how we want that success to feel, it often doesn’t turn out how we thought.