Going Full Time in Art, Here’s the story!

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Why is it that on the precipice of change, our minds become clearer and we can’t help but reflect on moments and choices? Standing on the edge of a new beginning, I can smell the heavy breath of jet fuel and hear the motors. I once thought this position could have been something long term, but I quickly realized that my needs wouldn’t be fulfilled here. And upon reflection on past employment, I most certainly always realize that it is not the institution or the job itself that I’ll miss, it is always the people I’ve worked with. 

I began my employment for the City of San Francisco in May of 2017, after an arduous process of red tape relating to citizenship that took about two months to cut through. For my citizenship/adoption story, click here. I had officially become a Museum Preparator for The San Francisco International Airport, and I went in with an open mind and truly wanted to learn the trade. Fortunately, life had different plans for me. 

I won’t bore you with the details of why this employment wasn’t ideal, but I will be happy to tell you about the positive relationships between myself and some of my co-workers. No matter the situation at any job, the hope is that you come out of the experience with new friends and memorable moments. Everyone has a story to tell, and I was happy to hear about everyone’s life and background. It was a very diverse group of people, and I feel honored to have known some of them.

Now, let’s get to the goods. How did I make the decision to work on my art full time? The short answer is that the decision was made well before I even got to the airport. I’ve been on the trajectory for my own art practice for the last few years, but I was simply waiting for the right moment. What I realized, much like many other life lessons relating to risk, is that if you wait for that moment to come, it never will. You have to dive head first into the deep end. You can put on your flippers, a snorkel, an inner tube and even swimmies, but when it comes down to it, you will always need to adapt and learn how to swim on your own. 

A few months ago, I met with a well known professional creative agent. She normally charges what she’s worth for professional advice, but she gave me two hours of her time for free. Or maybe not free in the literal sense of the word, because I feel she is the type of person to be fulfilled simply by seeing others around her succeed. After laying out my entire financial situation, employment situation, side gigs, art practice and personal life, her first piece of advice to me was that I should leave the airport. I definitely had negative feelings toward my day job, so hearing it from someone I respected was definitely a sign. Pretty much, at that moment, I decided to set a time frame and leave within that time. That brings us to now.

Every week, every day, is a hustle. I've felt like this for a long time. I've learned that not taking the leap of faith and never knowing your capabilities is always worse than taking the risk and failing. You always come out with brand new insight, regardless of whether or not you succeeded. I am also a firm believer that by putting yourself "out there" as a full time artist/creator, you open yourself up to new possibilities and opportunities. More on opportunities on the podcast with Sonia Leticia that I co-host , "Drawing From Experience" in episode 27 titled "When Opportunity Knocks." Call it "putting it out into the universe," or simply making yourself available, there is power in others knowing where you're at in life, and being open to new things.

I have so many plans in the works, and I'm delighted to have the freedom to do so. We live our lives the way we want, with pesky life obligations weighing us down, but in the end, we are the masters of our own fate. (This expression made popular to me by this tweet by the one and only Karen Kilgariff). I cannot wait to share what's in the works, but what I can say, is that it's only good things from here.