Every year for the last 3 years I have made a 'Wish List' of the things I most desire for the year ahead. I have deliberately tried to keep it humble and have thought of it more as a manifesto for living than any kind of 'Resolution' style list. This year, 2015, I can no longer ignore that each wish list is largely just a variation on a theme ... It would appear that what I desire most is to be healthy, courageous, loved, wise and An Artist. It all seems simple enough, but each of these things have, at one time or another, seemed to be impossibly beyond my reach.
This year, one of my priorities (residing just below my need for a bubble bath!) is to continue to find the the courage and the self-belief to be an artist.
Since graduating from my Master's Degree in September 2014 I have given a lot of thought about what kind of artist I wish to be, about what kind of a person I am, and how to find the courage and the inspiration to stay true to myself and my work.
I am an illustrator. What seems like a million years ago now I originally graduated from art school with a degree in illustration, and in between a thousand 'day jobs' I attempted to be just that ... An illustrator. But I am also a storyteller. I love to weave narratives out of air, to find the extraordinary in the mundane, joy in sadness, beauty in the plain. And I do this by creating stories. Creating fairy tales from my own life, from memory. I failed dismally in my career as an illustrator, that is to say I failed to have much enthusiasm for putting images to other people's ideas, but I still longed to tell my own stories and to put them into images as well as words. So when I returned to university to pursue my own voice, I was pretty determined that on graduating I would not fall into the same traps that I had fallen into in my previous life.
As it turns out, maintaining this kind of determination takes (yet more) courage.
Courage to pursue your own dreams, to realise your true potential, to live the life and do the work you're meant to. And it takes courage because the potential to fail is ever present. The self-doubt. The fear. The worry about having enough money to eat, that normal people will think you're insane, that you don't fit in to mainstream society and that you will be judged for it and so on and so on and so on ...
So I have thought about the people I myself admire, and why. Such as the woman who lives in a shed (her studio) so she can afford to spend her life writing music. The man who lived in his car for a year so he could pursue his dream of writing for a living. The woman who gave up a promising and well-paid career in publishing so she could become a photographer. And my very own man, the love of my life, who bought an old fishing boat off a bloke in a bar in Ireland so he could change his life and pursue the things which matter most to him. Sometimes, I realised, choices have to be made, resolve has to be hardened, life has to be embraced. So this year, clutching my graduation certificate and holding close to me all that I have learned on that wonderful MA, I choose to be the artist I always wanted to be.
So, Happy New Year 2015, as yet a year of mystery with adventures and secrets yet to be revealed. This year I hope to remain true and honest to my passions, to pursue my art and my words with my own authentic voice and to be brave in my choices. I also hope to document my experiences and to share my thoughts on life and passion and courage and on creating inspiration as myself and my partner continue work on the infamous Trawler, now safely moored here in beautiful Cornwall, and as I continue to create stories from the world which surrounds me.
... I also look forward, maybe, to having that bubble bath!
I look forward to sharing my journey with you.
Happy New Year!
I am a ...
... Teller of Tales. A Creator of Books. An Artist, Illustrator and A Boatbuilder. A Professional Daydreamer, Occasional Mermaid, and always The Eternal Optimist.