Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Realizing my dream

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.



  1. I loved your piece "Realizing my Dream". It is never too late to realize life long dreams. You are living my dreams, proving to me, it can be done. I am 63 and all my life have pursued my art, all the while dealing with life...for me that has been children(5 of them), divorce and years of supporting myself and struggling to survive with day jobs. Some day I am going to jump on my hippie bus and set out to follow that voice that first spoke to me 57 years ago and told me I was going to be an artist. Who would we be if we didn,t follow our dreams! You go girl..((HUGS))

  2. Your email gave me goosebumps.

    I am so surprised by the honest and sincere emails I am getting from people. I find it both a bit upsetting and encouraging. It would seem to me there are a lot of people out there who have not, or are not following their dreams. It's never too late I say! I hope you do pile into your hippie van and have your own adventures. Thanks for taking the time to contact me. I really do appreciate it.
    Take care and all the best,