The truth is, I have no idea what I am doing.
I’m making this all up as I go; life, art, love, and even my daily routine is fragments of what I think ‘adulting’ should look like. But honestly what is the fun in life without some unpredictability? How boring would life be if you are sure of the outcome?
As I venture into my second year as an artist and entrepreneur, I feel compelled to share my experience. Rather than brood over whether I’m doing life right, I focus on the good stuff. Like finding that although I have earned less as an artist, I am happier than when I was earning more as an architectural graduate. The pursuit of a creative life can often be filled with uncertainty, and I’ve learned to love it. Life after all, is so much more fun with that element of surprise.
Although I am perhaps a lot happier, the entrepreneurial lifestyle does not come without some sacrifice. When you are an entrepreneur, often you want to make a dollar stretch a mile. Heck, you want that dollar to run around the block a few times! Currently I am building awareness for #ProjectCityLove and investing some of my own finances into this fundraising campaign. To do this, I make small sacrifices that help me to save and invest when I need to.
Here are my top 5 troubles and top 5 triumphs that I have experienced being an artist.
Top 5 Troubles
- I wear second hand clothes. Instead of buying that hot, new, trendy dress of the season, I often borrow a dress from a friend or pull an old dress from the closet that has not seen the light of day for some time. C’mon girlbosses, I know you all have that one dress that could get worn more often!
- My room is furnished with abandoned furniture. Who needs to spend a fortune on new furniture when tones get abandoned every day? Just walk by any major condo on the first of the month (typical rental move-in time) and you will see a lot of unwanted furniture from previous tenants. Often in great condition too! One man’s trash, is another’s treasure!
- I don’t have a problem with eating 2-minute noodles. Throw on some spring onions, tofu, and you have a semi-nutritious meal. If you have ever funded yourself through university, you’ll know what I’m talking about!
- Shared accommodation is not ideal but it is cheap. I live with 4 other people. Hygiene is questionable. Savings is certain. Judge me for my shabby Annex apartment all you want, but tomorrow I’ll be able to afford a two story high industrial luxury loft!
- I miss my family every day. The ultimate sacrifice has been living on the other side of the world that has a 14-hour time difference and a minimum 24 hour travel from my family in Brisbane city, Australia. This fact alone, makes me more motivated to succeed in my art, so that I can travel freely to and from Toronto to see them!
Top 5 Triumphs
- I am more comfortable taking risks. Putting my work out there for people to judge and scrutinize is no longer scary, but instead necessary. This is not to say that I have no fear at all. I am just more afraid of missing out on the life that I could live, should my art succeed in the way I dream.
- Your opinion of me no longer matters.If I am at peace with who I am, and I continue to create art I love, the opinion of the haters and the naysayers are not important. As Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, “To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is a great accomplishment.”
- Creating something from nothing.What was once a personal art project on my bedroom wall, my designs are now the corner stone of my art and business. They are symbolic for my desire to share the journey of celebrating life-changing travel, and for my fundraising campaign #ProjectCityLove.
- Earning $1 in profit has been more rewarding than earning $100 in wages.Although profit is always small during the first few years of business, I have found this to be so much more rewarding than any dollar I ever earned sitting behind a desk between the hours 9 am to 5 pm. Why? Because the dollar earned in business was from my own innovation and creativity. The $100 earned behind the desk was merely for my time.
- Inspiring others. There is nothing more fulfilling then seeing that my story can potentially inspire others to get creative, and pursue art in their lives.
Ultimately despite the small sacrifices I have made in my journey as an artist, I know that I will still continue to pursue what I love. And this is priceless.