Back in 2004 I had an experience that changed my life. This experience resulted in thinking about my legacy. If I was to leave this earth, what would I leave behind? I began to reflect on my life and what obstacles I have faced mentally, emotionally, and financially.
I had moved to Sheboygan during that time due to this new change. Although I have been teaching for about 3 years I never had the opportunity to see what Sheboygan had to offer considering that I was commuting to work. I decided to approach this new outlook as an artist. So I began to pay attention to my surroundings and found myself painting topographical map-like abstract works. This was my way to relating to my environment and finding my way around the city.
In the studio, I always listen to music. I found myself listening to the Basquiat soundtrack. As I painted I stumbled upon two words that stuck in my mind, CLINK CLANK. I immediately grabbed oil pastels and began to draw. At the time that I created this drawing it did not make any sense. It was just a drawing of a robot on a cliff. About a year later, I stumbled upon this drawing and viewed it with a different perspective. This robot symbolized something special. It symbolized the idea that in life we are constantly beaten down with life’s challenges and although a specific moment seems like an eternity things do get better. “No matter how beat down you get in life it is that inner fuel that will push you out of it”.
So how does this story relate to the Business of Art? Well, today I still think about this experience and how it made my life’f goals clear. Realizing that life is about being happy. It is about doing what you love. Discovering what you are meant to do.
Today, CLINK CLANK still exists. It is what lies at my core. It is how I got to be where I am today. We often wonder where the future is going to take us. Well, I am happy to say that I do not know where all of this is going to take me. What I can say is that I have adopted a new way of looking at life – expose.educate.engage.
These three words have become my foundation for what I do as a gallery owner. What has helped me make this transition into running my own gallery is being an art educator. We expose people to the things we enjoy or passionate about. We educate them through personal stories, explaining the process, sharing influences. We engage them in conversation, art making, writing, critiques. We introduce them to a world that we enjoy living in and hope that it makes a difference in their lives.
You could say that is is the secret to my success. It is what keeps me up late at night, putting endless hours into a project, executing ideas, failing, and experiencing the ‘aha’ moment. We are bombarded by a lot of things on a daily basis. I would like to encourage you to reflect on your business or creative practice and begin to highlight those things that make you happy and create your own goals. In a year’s time you will notice a difference – mentally, emotionally and financially.