Monday, December 19, 2011

Art and Life Goals

It has been a very busy holiday season. And the holidays have barely started. Work has been incredibly busy, tedious, and complicated. I worked really hard to finish the schedule that is due next. Fall of 2012. I had just finished Summer 2012. With finals, helping students and instructors, and scheduling, it was a crazy couple of weeks. However, we did throw a nice holiday party for our staff and we were treated to a lot of great food. We have a diverse group of people, so they all brought dishes they specialize in: real fried rice, pot stickers, dumplings, jerk chicken, Polish cheesecake, and more. There was so much food! So much. I made the only dish that I can make with confidence: rhubarb raspberry pi pie. The people I worked with thought it was funny. And tasty. They thanked us for all of our hard work, and it was very nice to be recognized, even though I get shy at those moments.

One of the instructors invited me and J to Art Walk Miami. We have been trying to coordinate this for a few months now, but it has rained, or she or I have been sick. We finally were able to go and I am so glad we did. It happens on 2nd Avenue in the Wynwood Art District. It is an event where shops, restaurants, and the artists' studios are open to the public. It was one of the first times I felt like I belonged down here.

I may not dress like it, but I have the soul of a blue haired, artsy, hipster. The day I don't need a 9 to 5 job is the day I do something fun with my hair... I might be sixty when this happens, but it will happen. Seeing all of those artistic people made me feel like part of a community. They enjoy and appreciate something other than spray tans. I see them and I feel okay for being me in a city full of superficial men and women. I saw this one guy, he was a tall African American with beautiful skin, a crazy mohawk, and the fiercest jacket I've ever seen. Lady Gaga would have wanted it. He had to walk down the street sideways so he didn't poke someone in the eye. My first thought was, "Oh my gosh. He is so cool." And my second thought was, "How considerate! He is nicer than all of the jerks who bump into me at the mall."

The people watching was worth the trip alone. But the art was the reason we went. It was definitely interesting. We saw the Time and Place gallery show by Susy Igligki. It was interesting commentary on life in third world Latin America and the disparity between the rich and the poor. It can be argued that there are similarities to Miami. In the same gallery I also enjoyed the Titans show by Magaly Barnola-Otaola. Her work was kinetic drawings of man and machinery. It has a sketchy, draftsman style that I found intriguing. We stopped in at EVL World owned by Erni Vales. The work was street style and juxtaposed sweet and dark. I liked some of the paintings, and I liked that the artist provided a thought-process blurb next to his pieces. He is currently working on a project of 13 paintings a month for 13 months. He was near Kawaii Universe, a sticker shop that was cute and very kawaii (Japanese style- think Hello Kitty). I like some of the stickers, and I might buy some from their Etsy shop in the future. Another really cool shop was Plant the Future by Paloma Teppa featuring some pieces by Chu Teppa. It was a store filled with terrariums, orchids, desert gardens, bonsai, airplants, and cacti. J and I really liked that store. The style was more modern than we are usually drawn to, but we both appreciated living art. The best art, to me, though, was the graffiti on the Wynwood Walls. I nearly hyperventilated when I saw the Space Invader piece. SPACE INVADER. And Shepard Fairey! (He did the famous Obama poster.) These are some of the most famous living artists of our generation! I would have fainted if there was a Banksy piece. I have some qualms about street art, even though I appreciate the art form a lot, I still feel badly about people being inconvenienced and their property being vandalized. So I particularly enjoyed the graffiti on the Wynwood Walls because it was commissioned.

We stopped in more studios and saw a lot of interesting things, but I'll spare you all of the details. We also enjoyed some yummy food. You know me- not a blog post goes by where I don't describe something wonderful that I enjoyed. The food trucks were at the Art Walk and we were particularly excited because we haven't gone in months. The friend we went with had never had Ms.Cheezious before. J and I believe so highly in the power of grilled cheese that we've taken all of our visitors to Ms.Cheezious. And unless our friends and family have been lying to us- they have had life changing experiences with grilled cheese. I stand by the prosciutto goat cheese number with french fries. The cheese fries in particular are also yummy. After partaking in silence inducing food (so good you just shut up and eat) we stopped at the Coolhaus truck for the best ice cream sandwich I've ever had. J and I shared a chocolate chip cookie and Oreo coffee ice cream sandwich. The paper they give you is edible and for a good reason- you'll end up eating it they give you so much ice cream. The cookies were perfect: soft and chewy. That is the right vehicle for ice cream. Crunchy cookies simply don't work. It was one of my best food nights in a long time.

It was also one of the best nights in general. I love art. I have always said, "If I die and go to heaven, I hope it is either an art museum or a library." I have had some life changing moments in both places. They also symbolize the things I love to do most: create, enjoy the creation of others, write, and read. I have been struggling for a long time now with the quarter-life crisis question: WHAT AM I GOING TO DO WITH MY LIFE? I have had to put a lot on hold to move here. But when we leave, I am ready to dive, head first, into my calling. I kept going back and forth: do I do what I would be good at, that could make me money, but that would be less enjoyable? Or do I do what I love and live a more simple life? I've tossed around Human Resources, Adult Education, Law, Psychology, Child Life Specialist, Art Therapist, and a few more. I can say, quite honestly- and maybe I'm being full of myself, that I think I would do well at any of those fields. Each of those careers builds off of one of my strengths.

But after months of being unhappy with Miami and unhappy with what I do for 40 hours a week, I have come to the conclusion that I have to really like (if not totally love) what I do. Maybe I will fail, but I have to at least try, right? And I'm very lucky to have J. He supports me and wants me to be happy in whatever I do. So, I asked myself some questions and I asked J to help me (and an article in O Magazine helped a lot). I want to honor my talents. I think I can have a positive impact on the world. And I think doing what I am meant to do will bring more joy to my life than a sizable income ever could.

  • When I was a kid, I dreamed of: stories, adventure, and art.
  • I can't pass up a book or movie about: fantasy, humor, or quirky characters.
  • If I played hooky from work for a week, I'd spend the time: making stuff, sightseeing, and writing about it all.
  • Most people don't know this about me, but I really enjoy: writing and experiencing the outdoors.
  • I am the go-to person when my friends need help with: organization, advice, and crafts.
  • If I could star in my own how-to TV show, it would be about: organizing, crafts, or advice.
  • If I were to make a homemade gift, it would involve: ANYTHING! (Paint, yarn, glitter, pencils, wood, paper, recycled and found material, cloth...)
  • I've tried only once or twice, but I really enjoy: rock climbing and skiing.
  • The closest I came to a runner's high is when I'm: performing on stage or making art.
  • If I won first prize in a talent show, it would be for: art or public speaking.

I listed my top 5 passions as:
1. making art
2. writing
3. being in nature
4. performing/speaking publicly
5. organizing

I asked J to name three of my strengths and he said that I was organized, creative, and empathetic. I also asked him to tell me a story about my passion. He said that I have a clean, organized art studio where I do drawings or paintings and I donate some of my profits to charity. I liked where he was headed with that story. It exemplifies a lot of the things that are important to me. We went back and forth with the story and tweaked it so that I also run a small, online business and I write full-time and do art/crafts part time. We agreed that where I am currently with my art/crafts I could start an online business in the near future, but that the writing would require some further training/polishing. It scares me to consider a possibility where I do not have a steady income with reliable benefits. Organization and preparedness is huge for me. I'm the biggest worrier I know, so letting go and taking care of things on my own is terrifying. The article included a quiz that determined what I am motivated by. I am mostly motivated by Enlightenment (hence, the desire to be happy over the desire to be rich). I am also motivated by Security (the fear of not meeting the needs of my family) and Accomplishment. Interestingly enough, I am least motivated by my Connection to others. I run hot and cold with people and I find I'm only consistent in wanting to be with J and Ruby. :) If I pursued this, it would allow us to live anywhere (unlike Art Therapy) which would benefit J's career and passion. I have spent a lot of time thinking about what it is that will make me feel "whole." The Art Walk was the reminder I needed: this is who I am. This is where I feel great. This is where I feel appropriately challenged. I want my life to have meaning.

I have a lot working against me: I lack training, I fear an unstable income, I'm not good at selling myself or my work, it is not a good time to be making poor financial decisions, and I lack a good "creative space." I do know that I have a lot of people who would support me in this endeavor. And some who would question me. But I want to give it a try. I know I won't succeed at the first go around. But this is what I love doing: I'm sitting up late to write this out. I've sat up late and got up at 5:45 in the morning to make scarves for people, or to finish my homemade gifts that I am excited to give out on the 25th.

I think it is possible to bring a little of my "dream heaven" into my world. These are the things in life that bring life to me.

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