Working artist


So you’ve probably gathered I’m having a bit of a funny time in my life just now (I’m reticent to say quarter life crisis, let’s call it my quarter life celebration), where you’re not really sure what it is you want to do, but you now you want to do something *different*.  If you want to do something creative in advertising, I would definitely look at this blog by Mikey Kinlan, because he actually gives you helpful and unpretentious advice – something quite rare in this world (and rare in this blog, actually, as I am prone to getting carried away in my own little bubble).

A million (this is not a fact) people have already said this. But…

Just start creating.

That’s all that needs to happen at first, and even if it’s a writing a blog or a letter even, jamming a bit of a song, a wee sketch, or even just creating a nice meal, push yourself to make things everyday. And be conscious about that creation, not on autopilot.

Grow some balls.

It’s brave to be an artist, this is absolutely true and many artists will follow an easy path and flow and ebb along in life without doing that thing they’re passionate about. What a waste – think about what we’re all missing out on if someone like Banksy decided a weekend doodle was enough and opted to work in a bank. I’m also not saying banks are bad, and if that is what you want to do that’s great because it’s necessary in the world. But for me, well I am not a waitress but I bussed tables for many years, and I provided that service in the path of what I really wanted to do – so there is doing a job for the sake of a job, doing a job to get you somewhere and doing a job that is your vocation.

But, back to being an artist.

If there is something that you can’t stop talking about, thinking about and that you just love to be involved in, that is not just a hobby, that is your calling.

My friend Hannah is very brave. After travelling she ended up working in a temp job at the National Library, which is where I met her. We were completely unmotivated staff, so my apologies to the avid readers and researchers we should have been more helpful to. And we spent most of our breaks a-giggling and drinking coffee, dreaming big about the things we could create together. And we got pretty far with it. We had two years of Cameo Curio: a little company that celebrates beautiful things in life. Our launch was a pop up store that had cakes, food, dance, fashion and an exhibition. It was quite ambitious but we managed to get people in to see us, which is wonderful. And I am still not sure how we did it, because I for one, know that I get a million invitations for pop up stores, craft markets and market events on Facebook, which all look lovely but I never manage to make it. Anyway, it was a pretty good success, and on the back of that the blog grew. We took turns to write about artists who inspired me and put up tutorials or interviews. We then had a Month of Marks which was a month of making – by that time I was already taking less of a role in Cameo Curio, and it was steadily becoming Hannah’s world. Hannah, for most of this time was working at the Library, but the brave part comes here. She quit. She just said, ‘I’m going for it’ and quit her job.

And now, through a lot of work of course, she’s established herself as a working artist – she’s an illustrator, a crafter and through searching for how to make it work, she’s dicovered a niche in making artisic illustrations from technical architectural drawings. She’s now got an artist residency in Peebles. I haven’t told her I was writing this about her, and so some of these details might not be 100% accurate. But the gist is: She’s got balls and she creates.

So in the slightly bastardised words of one of my favourites Neil Gaiman from here: Just make good art. (All the time).


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