I wrote something very similar on Facebook today, but for my Patrons (whom I am SO grateful for!), I went in much more deeply, gave you a lot more of the story. I've been an artist my entire life, but in the last decade, it has been my sole source of income. Officially, even!
Here's my story:
10 years ago, on Feb 12, 2006, I was issued a resale license.
It is the same resale license I currently use...which means, this month is the 10th anniversary of my being a self employed visual artist!
Of earning a living as an artist, without a day job.
I'm still wrapping my head around it. I mean, the path has been so very hard, yet easy, winding, confusing, magical, serendipitous, and sometimes, as clear as the blue blue sky.
I won't claim to have known any of the ultimate destinations, only that I wanted to be an artist with all my being. And so, I did. I kept listening to the nudges, paid attention to what my artist heart asked for-
And I made those things, shot those photos, painted that artwork.
I exhibited all those things.
People loved them.
People didn't love them.
I still made the things.
Sometimes I fell, hard.
Sometimes, I soared.
Sometimes, I had to ask for help (hi, Patrons!).
But here I am. Still a full-time artist.
My greatest initiation came seven years ago, when my now ex-husband asked for a divorce. Not only was that the most painful loss I've ever endured, but to add more pressure, I thought for sure I'd have to give up the art and get a "job".
I was three years into my art business at the time, and was just starting to get the hang of it. The work was getting better all the time just when that rug was pulled out from under me.
Under that enormous pressure, I succumbed to the fear of not making ends meet, at least for a moment, and got a job at a reputable artist agency. (I have not had another job since.)
I was late both days. And both days, by the time I arrived, my makeup had been completely cried off. My heart was breaking into so many pieces with the idea that I had to give up my art. The second morning I told her I just couldn't do it. We talked for a long time. She had a lot of experience with artists and tried to convince me I could work and still make work (she really wanted me to work for her?!). But it just didn't feel right in my spirit. I went home early that second day, was paid for a full day, and both of us knowing full well I'd never return.
So, I had to find a way to make this work. This was 2009. I made art in every free moment, pounded the pavement looking for galleries and found several. People liked my work, and they were buying enough of it that I could keep going. I'd supplement my income with shooting weddings and tutoring people in Photoshop, but mostly it was the art that supported my life.
I've never really followed the safe path in my life, but that in particular was a defining moment. I had lost everything in the divorce, but I would not loose my art. I would fight for it, and never, ever give it up for anything or anyone. Which is still true to this day.
The journey began with photography, twenty-two years ago, when I developed my first roll of black and white film in my own apartment's darkroom.
It continued when, eighteen years ago, I made my first short film, "Liebeschrek", followed by my second, "Pique".
Everything changed eleven years ago, when my first book, "Sacred~New Orleans Funerary Grounds" was published.
But it was ten years ago when I took the big leap. Ten years ago, when I gave notice to a sweet music industry job where I was being groomed for a top position to start my own business.
The journey continues, as it was three years ago that I opened my shoppe inside The Last Bookstore in Downtown Los Angeles.
These are just the highlights. There are so many stories that I could tell about my journey as an artist. (And I probably will, at least to you guys)
I have so many plans for the future that it would make you dizzy (or possibly not make for very interesting reading...always more interesting to show the results than to share the vagueness of a dream)
Since this tenth anniversary is so important to me, I've been trying to come up with a fitting way to celebrate. Going through old photos I shot, my first photomontages, even the short films I made and the songs I recorded with the band Devout deciding what to share...
Early work is so necessary for the artist to grow, but sometimes so strange to look at, and a little daunting at the idea of exhibiting it! But, for this month's ArtWalk, in my shoppe, I'll be putting together a little retrospective of all the different visual
works I made in this past decade.
Not just to celebrate my milestone, but also to share what the life path of an artist can look like. The forward steps, the backward steps, and the great leaps that launch one in either direction. It's the way all of our lives unfold; we just keep taking the steps our soul calls for and then one day, we realize just how far we've traveled.
If you're in Los Angeles, I hope you will join us for ArtWalk this month, Thursday, February 11, 2016 and celebrate. If you're not in LA, I'll be sure to share it all with you here, as promised, as well as sneak peaks and the journey of rediscovery as it unfolds.
Thank you for being a part of this journey. I am so grateful for you.
"Walking the Spaces Between Where You End and I Begin"
Art by Liz Huston, December 2010
“If you can see your path laid out in front of you step by step, you
know it's not your path. Your own path you make with every step you
take. That's why it's your path.”
― Joseph Campbell