Studio Update // Summer 2018
I've been sitting here with my laptop open for quite a while, wondering what to write in this quarterly update. I'm here at the infusion clinic in a hospital bed for the 9 hour infusion of a blood product I get every other week. This is my routine.
I'm tired. My mind is tired and my body is tired. Infusion days are almost always this way and I'm not sure why I save things like writing a post for days like this. This picture is certainly not from today, when I feel like the walking dead.
I like to try and portray myself like any other small business owner primarily because I want people to take my work seriously. I don't want them to think I want pity because I have an illness. I don't want them to think I want special treatment because I have an illness. I know that I still have to hustle like every other small business owner trying to make it in this world. But it's hard to hustle on days like this or months like this, where my lupus leaves me drowning underneath all the work I need to complete, the progress I need to make, and the care and rest I have to do for myself just to keep plugging along.
This year, my main goal was to build a more heavy focus on wildlife to reduce my dependence on commissions over time since they are so physically taxing. I have recently finished my second set of wildlife and am getting close to finishing another set as I write this. It's a trade off -- doing more wildlife means less guaranteed income from commissions. But it does mean that I can offer more prints, notecards, and other products over time, which is something that helps me when I feel like I do today. When I know I can't do much except exist, packaging up some cards for a client or a shop owner isn't a huge deal because I don't need the mental energy to focus on the artwork itself.
A week ago, I participated in an art show at The Art Lab in Fort Collins, Colorado. This show was organized by some lovely folks at the local Division of Vocational Rehabilitation and it featured artists who have disabilities and are trying to continue working despite that. I worked with a counselor at DVR for a while in 2016, as I was starting my business. Not only did they provide me with some funding to get important supplies for starting my business, but they also sent me to classes at the local Small Business Development Center which gave me access to a ton of amazing resources, including free consultations with specialists in marketing, accounting, legal documents, and so on. Most people who know me know that I am very passionate about vocational rehabilitation as I've had such great experiences working with them in the past. I often recommend fellow disabled people seek their services in their own state, where they may be able to get funding to go back to school for a career their body can handle, they may be able to get vocational testing to help them find an appropriate career, or even help with starting a business like I did.
Anyway, I participated in this show in July and shared several original wildlife pieces as well as matted prints and notecards. It went very well and while it was very hard for me to prepare for a show like this (I needed to frame all of my pieces, pastel is not the easiest medium to frame, and I still had some digital files to color correct in order to provide prints), it was a great experience and I'm so glad I did it.
Because of this, I'm really looking forward to continuing to increase my wildlife pieces and my stock of notecards over the second half of the year. I am also looking for both events and shops around the United States that may be appropriate for my work as I look to expand my notecard and print inventory even more over time. I'd love to hear your suggestions if you are familiar with any events/fairs or small shops that may hold special interest in local wildlife, tourism, birdwatching, and the environment. If you have any to suggest, please let me know the name of the event or shop and the location below! As always, thank you so much for your on-going support as I try to carve a place for myself in this working world.