Tag Archives: no

change is good.

new digsNew digs. New school. New outlook on how things get done. This year has been full of new ways of doing things. I concluded my first year of graduate school. I left the gallery I had previously been at for three years. I’m five months into my tenure as president of my professional organization. And as usual, I’m still trying to break myself of the habit of wanting to do all the things.

Attending graduate school effectively ended my ability to pay my own rent without borrowing six-figures in student loans. My parents were kind enough to offer me a place to live while I embarked on my educational journey. Mom and dad are cool people. We get along, we stay out of each other’s way. But as a 32 year old woman who has worked on her own most of her life, it’s definitely different. There is something comforting about being back home. My parents are very supportive, loving people. The positives are living in a comfortable house with a killer backyard. They see my struggles with school and everything else first-hand and are always there to give me advise. There are some little things we all do that get on each others’ nerves. But the idiosyncrasies are few and far between.

Probably the coolest thing they did for me was build out an art studio off of the kitchen. In December of last year, I left the gallery I had been with for three years. I don’t mean for it to sound like an ugly breakup. It was more of a semi-mutual decision to go in different directions. My friend wanted to use my space for additional retail sales. I wanted the rent money back in my pocket. It was a warm and fuzzy parting of ways. But…the fact still remained that I was a studio-less artist in need of a place to work {and store my mountain of supplies}. Out of the kindness of their hearts, my parents built out the new studio. It’s small. But it has operable windows, which is a rarity in an old house. So I have a place to work, but am navigating the ways of selling my art without the ease of the instant exposure of a gallery. I’m having to learn to use online platforms such as etsy and paypal. In the meantime, I’m trying not to produce more than I can store, which is not a whole lot.

Fortunately, I’ve only had to worry about this in recent weeks. Graduate school is the ultimate distraction from everything else you want to do and need to do on a daily basis. Is your car broken down? It can set in your driveway, you’ve got a project due. Are your bangs growing down to your chin? Cancel that haircut because you’ve got a meeting for a group project. Sleep? Yeah, that’s cute.

This was my first semester of studio classes in the interior program. I should say this was not my first rodeo. My undergraduate program was a rigorous schedule including twelve studios over the course of five years. I’m definitely seasoned. But, interior design is a different animal. So different, that I would say I dramatically over-estimated my capabilities in terms of completing projects. I also took on four classes, which I will never attempt again. Ever. I had the option to say no when my advisor suggested it. But hey, when it comes to dramatic change, my M.O. is to often learn in the most stressful way possible. I’m trying to change that behavior, but it’s a long process. I persevered with two As and two Bs, in fact. But in those good grades were some valuable, but extremely hard lessons learned about my capability and what it is to say no for your own sake. I’ll likely write a more detailed blog post on this subject later.

I’m carrying some of those lessons learned from the past semester into how I approach my life in general. After school was over, my first instinct would have been to stack in as much as possible. It’s hard for me to say no, especially if it’s for a friend or family member. But I’ve been saying it. All the time. Instead of filling my schedule with to do’s for other people, I’ve taken a good hard look at what I want – the things I want to do. The things I need to do.

As a result, I’m making some other major changes to put myself in a position to really get everything I can out of my remaining time in school. Clearing my schedule in such a way that my classes will actually be fun. Sure, I will be really busy. But, I’m looking for working smarter, not harder, rather than  endless paddling. I’ve also changed my outlook on my artwork. I’m switching to a more volume based approach – smaller pieces without compromising quality or price. No big solo exhibitions or investing in mammoth canvases that get warped sitting in my dads’ shed. I’m reawakening my online avenues to build a steady presence, rather than forget about it for a year only to spend weeks re-working my blog and wonder where my money is.

It’s not easy to do everything. And in the end, I won’t be able to stretch myself that thin. But, I’m figuring out what I need to do to achieve my goals. Along the way, there’s plenty of time to indulge in the things I want to do as well. The rest of the year holds a lot of potential. I aim to capitalize on it.