Ten years ago, I ran...not walked, out of a full-time job to become a professional artist. Impulsive? Yes. But it had to be done. Call it fleeing for my life. Call it a mission of the soul. I just knew, if I didn't run at that time, I'd be stuck for the rest of my life. I think we all have a secret that we try to hide from immediate view. Mine has always been that I'm a nervous, anxious, and fearful person. My decision years ago changed everything.
Since then, I've been on this mission to find happiness. Along the way, I've learned that happiness doesn't exist purely on it's own. It can only be made possible by weeding through frustration, sadness, failure, and the willingness to take risks...make something bad, jump into something new. This has led to finding some bright moments in the calm and in boredom, even. I find I'm my most creative when working within parameters, so a bit of my happiness comes from building my own system of habits and pattern.
Making art is how I stay balanced and quell my nervousness.
Living through a pandemic, I've discovered, is absolutely terrifying. I made the prints in this show during the first "lockdown" earlier this year. It seemed like the only way I could exercise my fear was to work quickly. I'd work on 12 at a time, making efficient use of the textured stamps I carved, and simultaneously thinking about what color to use with each. If something didn't work, I'd cover it up with a layer of paint. And each layer gave me a chance to redo and start fresh. Working at that speed meant there wasn't a lot of time to worry about perfection. This performative exercise to keep my mind focused on artmaking, instead of the uncertainty COVID-19 imposed, became a beautiful distraction and reenergized the way I create.
This exhibition also showcases the artworks on panel and paper that I have in my archives. The early artworks were made in a similar fashion as the prints: testing, editing, and making good and bad decisions. Looking back at how new that method of painting was for me and reflecting on the enjoyment I had in "playing" with something unfamiliar, gives me hope for my path forward. Being able to pair early works that were created at the beginning of my professional journey with the newly introduced prints feels like the perfect way to commemorate my ten-year celebration.