Updated: Jun 3, 2021
Turning your passion into your profit is complicated. It's something I've struggled with for as long as I've been professionally pursuing art.
How do we stay true and authentic to our imaginative ideas while also getting those ideas out there?
Well for me, the guitar happened to be my answer to that question.
When I was younger, visual art was a safe space where I could truly express myself. Once I started studying illustration professionally, art started to take on a whole new form. All of the sudden there were boundaries to my exploration, and my work was being critiqued. I studied realism, life drawing, botany, scientific illustration, motion graphics… everything. I became a jack of all trades but a master of none. Although my training made me into the strong and confident artist I am today, I no longer blissfully made art just for the fun of it. My younger imaginative and creative self felt lost.
After graduation I pursued commercial art, I created pieces for magazines, worked on logo’s and even apparel. As exhilarating as it all was, the pressure of making money off of my craft became unbearable. Not only was I collapsing under the financial pressure of my passion providing my income, I wasn’t even creating art for fun anymore. I couldn’t pick up a pencil without thinking about what I would caption the piece on Instagram, or how I could expand upon the idea to make more money. My safe place for self expression was gone.
Guitar helped me find my way back to art.
I’ve come to realize creativity isn’t linear, it’s boundless. It was because of this realization that I picked up the guitar. I taught myself how to play and now I write my own songs. When I need to turn on my marketing brain and make a profit, I also pick up the guitar and write music. Creating my own songs feels magical again, like when I first started drawing as a kid.
I’m finally able to cope with my art becoming my career because I have my safe space back. Whenever I feel lost, I can find myself in my music. I also no longer grieve the loss of visual art feeling like my outlet, to me music fills that hole.
I’m not saying you have to go out there and pick up a guitar! That just happened to work for me. What I mean is, explore your creativity and find ways to express yourself that are outside of what you do to make money. Sometimes we have to step into roles that aren’t natural to us in order to move ahead. Moving ahead doesn’t mean we have to leave our creativity behind, it’s just a matter of re-shaping it.
Below is a video of me playing my own song! It does not have a title yet.