As far back as I can remember I've always wanted to be an artist. Well, that and an archaeologist. So it makes sense that I began my gallery career exhibiting photographs of abandoned buildings, a kind of urban archaeology if you will. When I was in elementary there was an abandoned shack in the woods behind the school and I would spend hours there looking through what was left behind. I loved leafing through the old newspapers and digging amongst the discarded personal belongings. Even then I had a love of history and a joy of exploring.
When I graduated from high school I applied to art school immediately. Not once had I entertained the idea of pursuing another path and halfway through my degree I had second thoughts about my ability to make a living from art. I'm sure you're thinking, uh yeah, you should know there's no money in the arts. Well, I was naive enough to think that if it's my dream I can make it happen; a notion I will come back to in a bit.
So, I left school and ran away to Victoria BC. I was two years into school and decided I needed a break to think. I left Victoria to follow a guy to Toronto, had a failed attempt at love and moved back to finish my BFA. Over the next 10 years I moved and traveled a lot. I lived in Calgary, England, Holland and had too many apartments and broken hearts to count. The travel bug had a hold of me and I wanted nothing more than to be free to see the world. Eventually, my age-obsessed inner voice spoke up, telling me I need to settle down and be a responsible citizen. Maybe I would build the career of my dreams, meet the guy, buy a house and have dogs (I've never wanted children) if I just stayed put for a while. Although I have managed to gain a small group of collectors while working on my art, none of these things happened.
I have been back in Halifax for almost nine years and seven of them I've been driving myself, and my friends, crazy trying to figure out what I want to be when I grow up. I applied to school, got accepted and then dropped out before it started. I looked into being a professional organizer, archivist, commercial photographer, cruise ship worker, travel agent, and the list goes on. I ignored my little girl voice who was egging me on to travel and be an artist. I'd tell myself it was a ridiculous notion to think I could just up and leave. How would I support myself? I have bills to pay. Would I be lonely? What would people say? Where would I go?
Well, it just so happens that I never did figure out what I want to be and that inner voice has never gone away. What I want to be is an artist. What I want to do is travel. I have read many times that what you are meant to do is the thing you've always wanted to do, no matter how silly it sounds. Last year, when I was once again heartbroken, (yeah, it happens a lot) and creatively stunted I decided to take myself on a road trip. It was exactly what I needed and it fired up my love of travel once again. It was also an amazing inspiration, resulting in my most successful exhibition to date.When I returned home I decided to make my dream come true; to travel full time and be free to get inspired and educated by what I see. Now, dreams don't just come true (usually). You have to take an active role in making them come to fruition. Luckily I am very stubborn and goal oriented. Once I put my mind to it there's no stopping me.
I am now a month away from hitting the road in my new home on wheels and I am excited, overwhelmed, anxious and thoroughly impressed with what I've accomplished. I consider this my final attempt at becoming the self-sustaining artist I've always dreamed of being. Even as I type that it sounds ridiculous, but if I fail I can at least rest easy as an old lady knowing I gave it a go and didn't let fear stop me from trying.