Hey people. To all my friends out there struggling with the season-- ~fist bump~. Hang in there. To everyone enjoying the season and all its trappings-- good for you. Really. Enjoy the heck out of it because it only comes once a year. And that is all I'm saying about ~the holidays~ in this post.
I've done this metaphorically a few times as well : Quitting my corpo job, becoming a landscape designer, & writing novels to name a few. But the biggest leap was probably when I decided to start my own welding operation.
I don't do debt. The only things I've ever financed have had my name on the mailbox. I approached that decision like I approach everything I decide I want, by saving up. I'm good at the delayed gratification thing. I saved for a long time, and bought a welder, and a bunch of other equipment I had no clue how to use, because I'd gotten it into my head I could learn this, and I'd like it, and could make cool things. There was really nothing to substantiate this inclination, but I did it.
I didn't mess around getting a little 110 hobbyist's welder. I got a nice big 220.
Go big or go home. Plan for success. Pray you'll catch the bus, but run like hell. If it can be learned by one person, it can be learned by another, even you. Work your ass off. Do your best, and try to make sure it's among the best of the best out there.
Those are some of my mottoes.
For a while I was really fascinated with Thomas Edison. I read a big biography on him. When my dad retired, I found out he'd had a plaque with Edison's pic hanging on his office wall ever since college with the quote, "There's a better way to do it-- find it" on it. One of the things T.E. credited his success to, was being unaware of how impossible whatever he was trying to accomplish supposedly was. There is something to be said for that.
That is why young shoots of ideas sometimes need to be protected.
When I started doing art, I told Dan about it first, because I knew I could trust him not to shoot me down, but also because we are a team, and I owed it to him. He has to know everything I know pretty much. Us = cohesive unit.
But I kept everyone else in the dark. All the questions even my most well-meaning friends and family would ask-- "But, do you know anything about welding?" "Maybe you should consider art school?" "I didn't know you were that interested in sculpture..." "Do you know how hard it is to make money doing art?" "How will you be able to move all the heavy steel around?" etc etc I could ask myself. I had to keep what I was doing to myself until I felt ready to expose my efforts to the light of inevitable criticism.
All I would tell people, once it got around what I was attempting, was, "Some people spend years and a lot of $ going to art school. Pretend that's what I'm doing-- the home-school version."
It worked out pretty well. I worked super hard to learn the skill of welding, and the discipline of allowing creativity to flow through me. I educated myself about running a creative business. I was able to siphon the swirl of images in my head and make them into things that made other people happy and they gave me $ for this.
But now some of my parts are beginning to wear out. If I want to continue making the special things I get very excited about making, I need to develop another outlet for my creativity-- and another income stream for me as an artist.
I'm not going to quit welding. I'm still signed up to do a show in early April. I'm just looking ahead and adapting. To be a creative entrepreneur, you have to be agile, and flexible. Over the coming months I'll be learning new skills again, kind of like when I had to learn about welding. I'll be learning new ways to siphon the swirl of images in my head. This is an exciting time, but scary too, because yesterday I had to invest in a pretty significant piece of equipment for this new phase. I'm calling it maczilla.
Taking chances is scary, but when the ice you're on begins cracking around you, it's time to get a move on.
My ultimate goal is to develop another successful art business, that will be solvent enough to allow me to work at sculpture at a pace that won't completely fry my aging parts, or jeopardize my health.
And that's about all I can tell you guys right now. :)