What the HELL am I doing?

So about two years ago I decided to show my art for the first time at a so called "pay for play" style art showcase in March 2016. I was naive yet optimistic. I had drawn my whole life, but I decided to go to school for a more "practical" degree. Nonetheless, that first show was more than I expected. I sold my first painting, sold some not so high quality poster prints of the few pieces I had, and nervously talked to patrons and attendees. It was great! From then on I did more and more art markets, shows, festivals, etc...Fast forward to now and I'm still active even more so, with my creative endeavors. BUT, there is still one huge question I am always asking myself: "What the HELL am I doing?!?"

Grainy image of an ambitious artist at her very first art showcase.

Let me explain a little; I graduated the University of Southern California (USC) in 2014 and got a job a few months after back in my hometown of Houston. The job is not art related in the least bit so I decided to take up my creative endeavors as an after work hobby. Over the past two years I've spent my own money on art supplies, entry fees, and grant applications, as I try to mingle with the art elites of Houston (ha). I don't make a ton of money but I live comfortably and am able to pursue my hobby so I do not feel completely unfulfilled. However, with most things in life there come rejections. And with that rejection comes feelings of "Did I just waste my money AND time?" Getting those, “We received many impressive entries and you are talented but not talented enough for us. Try again next year lil girl." emails can be soul crushing and makes me wonder if I should even continue. People offer words of encouragement but negative thoughts can't help but cross my mind every time I get rejected.

Setup for a show I wanted to leave 10 minutes after arriving...I'll write about this later

Now if I am being honest not all rejections are that bad. At one point I was applying to so many shows I completely forgot about some of them and when I got the "we're good, but thanks" message in my inbox, I thought it was junk mail. Overall I take rejection pretty well and keep it pushing. I try not to get too hung up on it because it will cause me to lose sight of my ultimate goals of becoming a full-time artist and selling household objects preserved in the finest Plexiglas tanks full of resin for millions of dollars.

Thus far I've done a pretty impressively mediocre job of getting myself and art out there. I say mediocre not in a self-deprecating way but in an honest way. I think I'm doing well but I can do better. I know my weakness but honestly sometimes I'm just too lazy to work on improving them. And that's ok temporarily but I know I need to do more in the future if I want to be an artist. I love my work itself and I know I am very talented but where I falter is having the motivation to network with other artist and tastemakers. This is mostly because I. AM. TIRED. Like actually, physically, mentally, and creatively tired. I get off at 6pm Monday-Friday and barely have time to finish a painting in a reasonable amount of time. Let alone stumble into an art show and have deep conversations about my strange figures used in my work. My mind is literally numb. So what am I going to do about it besides ramble in this blog post you ask? Well, I have no idea what the exact answer is but I am figuring it out while falling down hard but also being uplifted even further (I think).

A high point from 2018: "of Women...continues" at Community Artists' Collective

This blog with be my journey into figuring out not only how I navigate the art world but also just figuring out my reality as well. I want it to be a way to hold myself accountable and learn and laugh and cry and cringe at as I get further into my art career. Wish me luck as I figure out what the hell I am doing.

© 2016-2018 LJANELLE 

Houston, TX. Email: ljanelleart@gmail.com

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