I rang in the new year doing the same thing I do most every day! Art, hanging with my little family, good food, wine and conversation. It was subzero here in Indianapolis that weekend, but I'd be lying if I said that's why we chose to stay in. We're home bodies, and I enjoy myself most in the studio!
I used the Girls Drawin' Girls prompt "NYE Celebration" as inspiration to complete this new addition to my series of seasonal inspired pin-up characters "Calendar Collection." I started working on it the day before New Years Eve and despite it being small- it took me a couple days in to 2018, making it my first piece of art for the year! The details were highly inspired by my own celebration so I incorporated some personal touches and even used my own facial lines for this one titled "New Year, Same Me." More details here.
In 2018 I aim to do one thing mostly and that is MAKE MORE ART!
I have a better understanding and feel for how I want to proceed going forward, and I've made some operational changes as a result. My partnership with Girls Drawin' Girls is a big part of that, too.
Read my previous posts for more on changes to come this year and be sure to subscribe to my blog here for updates on more, going forward!
BLOG POST: What is Girls Drawin' Girls?
BLOG POST: BIG changes coming this year!
June 2017 marked 3 years since I set out in this journey.
Every year I've set goals and mostly with the intention of staying focused. I often get overwhelmed by what all the artists and entrepreneurs around me are doing and found during my first year that this can be extremely distracting. It can also ruin your creative drive and mojo entirely if you don't have your own stuff to focus on. Or drive to stay focused.
The goals I've set for each year have come with much thought and consideration, formulated to help me achieve the bigger things I'm working towards and staying focused. I truly believe everything happens when it's meant to happen so I do allow myself some flexibility if unsurpassed ideas or opportunities arise!
June - December 2014 was spent making art. I had only been painting for 4 years before then, less with intentions of practicing and more so as a hobby. When I changed gears mid 2014, I directed all my focus towards paint. Making art, sharing it on social media, and starting to sell on sites like etsy. I played around with applying my art to products in hopes to reach a wider market (not everyone wants to hang it on the wall, I get it) and the positive response led to my first merchandise partnership that November. Although my art has changed so much since then S6, my original merch. shop, is still open at this time and also has some of my older artworks available there as prints & merchandise! Click here to check it out.
2015 was the year I started showing my art publicly. Beyond the safety net that can be the internet, it was time to start putting myself out there if I was going to build any sort of following.
I spent years dreaming of doing this one day, Aries Art is something I had been building in my head for as long as I could remember. But most of what I had planned for myself in this regard was local to my hometown of Vancouver, WA, just across the river from Portland, OR- I could write you a book on all the ways I would have started showcasing my work there! The only reason I am even able to focus on my art full time right now though is because of my spouse, Michael, who accepted a promotional transfer within his company that required us to relocate to Indianapolis, IN for the time. Starting this phase of my journey in an entirely new-to-me city came with some obvious additional challenges, but it has armed me with the knowledge and confidence to be able to do this in any city. Which is great because there's no telling what life holds for us next!
In 2016 the full time art practice started to shine through in most everything I made. My personal style started to develop and I finally had a feel for where I fit in the wide world of art. I continued to showcase my art around Indianapolis and even extended my reach to surrounding cities like Kokomo, IN and Chicago, IL. I challenged myself that year by taking on more projects at once, working on my ability to multi-task creatively. Up until this point I would only work on one thing at a time and while it was great for my mind, I was experiencing a demand for my work which meant I needed to speed it up some. I learned to love working on multiple things at once as I often reach a point with a piece where I sit and stare- this can go on for days until I've observed it from all angles and in different lighting, coming up with my next moves. Having multiple projects going at once allowed me to take on more while also staying productive during this phase that I've come to accept as part of my creative process. I also found when working on one thing at a time I felt pressured to rush it so I could move on to the next piece. I feel confident in saying this is the single-most thing that impacted the transformation of my art this year, the way things started to change shape and become more dimensional. It was all because I was able to slow down in my work, by taking on more at once.
During these earlier years there was one thing consistently holding me back and that was my inexperience with computer design & graphic art.
I had no idea how much this would come in to the operations of showcasing hand-made art. Between merchandising, websites and being your own PR & Marketing agent- I quickly realized I had a lot I needed to learn before I could really start to operate things the way I had always envisioned.
2017 became the year I got focused. Which is weird to say because I've been focused- but this year I chose to put a hold on some of my personal creative projects to focus the technical how-to's of everything I needed to learn to do this right, before I went any further. With the help of some local artist friends I spent the year learning graphic design, Photoshop and digital art programs like Adobe Draw, and more. This not only brought improvement to my visual marketing and my website over the course of the year, it's also helped me in improving my merchandising. I was also able to make some small upgrades to my devices this year and started learning how to incorporate video productions in to the creative mix (something I used to do in High School). Learning these programs also gave me the basic skills to roll out coloring pages this year along with some other amazing new merchandise options AND I learned how to paint digitally, too!
I didn't make near as much new art in 2017 as I have in years past, but in reflection it has been one of the best years for me as a creative professional.
This was also the first year I really started to own the title of an artist, and started to give myself the professional credit I deserve. I still get asked by friends & family if I'll ever "go back to work" but my answer is much different now than it was just 3 years ago. I no longer value myself or my work less, just because the majority of society does.
Here's a little video I made this year, I still have a lot to learn in this regard but all in time! It's a nice re-cap of some of my best projects from the last almost-4 years.
I've got so many exciting things planned for the year ahead and I can't wait to share it all with you!
Please consider becoming a sponsor of my journey, you'll learn more about my specific goals and plans for the year in addition to getting access to exclusive content, artwork and more at a MAJOR discount in exchange for your contributions! Learn more here.
Thank you for reading this!
A BIG thank you to everyone who's been rockin' with me all this time, too!