Friday, August 01, 2008

embracing the ride

elephants in love
I was reading the SF Bike Coalition newsletter and started laughing at this interview of a family of bikers. Here is an excerpt from one of the kid bicyclists named Hannah, age 8:

Q: What was it like the first time you rode without training wheels and you didn't fall down?

Hannah: Well, at first I didn't want to take the training wheels off, but my dad took them off. He was going to give me a boost but I just took off and I had trouble getting around the corner.

John (Dad): You just took off, didn't you? I was just putting the wheels in the car and suddenly she was gone!

I was thinking about this in light of being a working artist and totally relating to challenge of getting around the corner. It's real. It's happening! My training wheels are off. NOW is the time and i'm going to embrace it. I'm going to really step into it/ step it up yet another level. It's not like I haven't been dreaming about this job title my entire life, but it's crept up on me and all of a sudden it really is my life. I'm no longer a student, no longer figuring out what I want to do with my life, but now the challenge is to balance it all. I feel like in the past I've talked about my art and small business casually, like it's a side gig. An interest. A hobby. When out with friends sometimes I still get shy and pretend it ain't no big thing. I paint some pictures. Sell some prints on line. Totally disregarding all the hard work I pour into it. The detail. The love. The headaches. The financial woes. The hustle. The self-imposed isolation. The saying no to parties and new dresses and fancy haircuts.

I was on the phone earlier with my mom totally stressed telling her how i was in the middle of packing up my etsy orders, wholesale orders, buying plane tickets to multiple art related events, answering a jillion emails and not getting to a million others and feeling anxious. All good things, but really feeling like this is hard. What happened? Why am i so busy? Where is the grounded me? The dreamer me? The passionately painting me?

My mom on the other end and coast in Maine was whipping up fresh gazpacho and carrying bags of blueberries up from the garden and trying to stay on top of the harvest. Sounds romantic, but I know a bit stressful when you have the pressure to make food out of all that has been harvested in the height of summer. Ahh, how i'd love to be there to reap the rewards of dinner this week.

Well in talking to her, i had the realization that i'm still here. All those parts are intact and all serve me at different times. I'm just gonna ride this wave of action right now. Part of the overwhelm comes in the resistance versus action. This is how it's gonna be. I'm a working artist, no one said this was easy.

In fact in college back in Minnesota a room full of art professors tried to dissuade the potential art majors from entering the creative field. "It is really hard", they remarked. They weren't lying, but I do wish they had been more encouraging.

So beneath all the flurry of activity, i'm still here.

Something shifted. An ounce of trust that it is all happening as it should and it is OK to acknowledge the worry, stress and overwhelm along with the fabulousness of being where I have dreamed to be... making art for my living, even if it's currently on a shoe string.

I am really so grateful for this opportunity. Thank you everyone who has supported my dreams and has bought art recently from me. I'll lend someone my training wheels if you'd like, or give you a push if yours are ready to come off too... they really have helped me for many rides!


ps- "Elephant Love" painting above is for the upcoming Enormous Tiny Show opening at Nahcotta Sept 5th!


Rowena said...

This is really great, Mati. Thank you for sharing this. I am sitting in the pre-phase of having my artistic career, and just knowing that you are struggling, and not some magic "artist" who lives this unreachable life, helps me realize that I am actually on track.

This may sound odd. Knowing that an artistic career is hard is helping me not feel so intimidated. I guess you are helping me to demystify it. It helps me to know that other people have creative blocks or insecurities or struggles and that is a part of the process.

All we have to do is ride the wave and keep moving forward, I think.

kelly rae said...

in all of the art business worries, joys, and journeys, i have been so incredibly happy to have you next to me, toe-to-toe doing the same thing - making your dream a living, working reality.
big hugs of congratulations to you, dear one..

linda said...

Go Mati go!

lisa s said...

you are definitely still there.... and doing so well. you sound balanced - even if you don't feel it!

shash said...

every time i see you these days you seem happier, more relaxed (even when stressed) and successful mati. you are doing it and it is so exciting to see and read!!

j. vorwaller said...

you're already there! at least in my eyes.

and you're reading twyla! she's a tough couch of wisdom, i felt exhausted after finishing her book, in a good way, smile...


diana fayt said...

welcome mati love,
we've been anxiously waiting for you to arrive:) so,so glad you've made it! and with such style and grace too. xo

andrea said...

congrats on all of your succcess! Your work is wonderful you deserve it :)

rose said...

a bit of de-lurking here - my beautiful t-shirt arrived in the mail today. the perfect welcome home after a long day of driving through the desert. thanks for doing what you do - you do it so well.


jessica said...

congratulations mati! i'm so happy for you! and thanks for writing about it so eloquently... it's really inspiring. i certainly know how challenging it is to find a way to live as an artist.

Anonymous said...

i can't thank you enought for this entry, it sums up exactly what i have been feeling lately. i wish you well.

Heather said...

Mati, this post really spoke to me. As a designer/ artist I am seeing the opportunity to take off my training wheels approaching rather quickly and YES is is HARD and scary and so worth it. In a way I wish I hadn't waited so long but I know this is the road I needed to travel to get where I am today. Good luck on your adventure, keep your head lifted high.

On another note, I returned from vacation to find the pendant I ordered from you. Love it! Thank you!

abby said...

so off subject, was so nice to meet you yesterday! I was a little caught off guard-so I hope I wasn't rude! :)
I totally adore your "there is nothing wrong with you print", just really great. I hope you are having a great visit! And give Andrea a squeeze for me :)

berryberr said...

U've got an interesting blog!Will be checking it out often!

Katrina said...

congrats, mati! i love this post. it's so true how we sometimes hide in the corner with our artwork when we have actually been working so hard at it for so long. your dream has been pushed out of the nest and now you are flying along from branch to branch, telephone wire to telephone wire, finding a new rhythm as you go. congrats to you, mati the working artist. training wheels, be off! xoxo, k.

AscenderRisesAbove said...

recently came upon your blog; thoroughly enjoyed your art and photos.

Mary Richmond said...

this is just great! hang in there and enjoy the ride! i see great success for you.....;-)