Whether choosing the path of a creative or somehow falling into it by chance, the life of an artist is one that can be both daunting and enormously gratifying. In all honesty, I consider myself more academic minded than creatively minded. That is because I come from an upbringing where only behind family, education was given the highest priority in our household and everything else came second. Throughout my childhood I worked hard to achieve perfect grades, excel in whatever challenge was set before me, and make my parents proud. Math and science were my favorite subjects, and I loved the ability to take a formula, insert different variables and come out with a set answer. It was either right, or wrong.
Then came my interest in photography. For many years it was a hobby that I enjoyed with my friends, taking long weekend trips to San Diego or Death Valley. Armed with my Sony point and shoot, I practiced and played around not ever once thinking this creative endeavor would eventually blossom into something more. But the more I photographed, the more I enjoyed the end result. I was still quite rigid in my images, not veering off the road of traditional photography “rules,” but as my interest grew, so did my realization of how breaking through self-imposed barrieres could open up a freedom and opportunity to take chances.
And over the years of practice, reading countless books and articles, emailing any and every photographer I could find online, and ultimately working for a local photographer, I learned to embrace the differences which gave me a unique perspective of the world. I learned that what made me weird as a kid, made me a better photographer. And although most of who have met me probably wouldn't characterize me as weird, it was a results of feeling separated from my friends due to my culture, name and food I ate.
Living a creative life is also learning and living a life of a business owner. Not everyone is fit to run a business and that is okay. Some fare well when strictly focusing on the creative side, without having to manage, adapt and think about being on the forefront of our industry. To be a business owner, you have to be an early adapter, not fight the trends but instead either lead the trends or avoid them altogether. Learning to delegate, make transitions and decisions that may not feel comfortable initially, and take chances, felt more academic to me in that there were established “rules” to social media, pricing, marketing, etc. The rigidity of running a business perfectly balanced my academic need and of course justified my achievement of getting my MBA.
What I found is, the largerst impact on my life of being a creative is this feeling of being unbound. Of limitless creative freedoms, feeling weird and knowing that exact feeling can be used to create art that is both unique and beautiful. And it has given me a larger appreciation for the things in life that are well made, well crafted and have a human touch. I appreciate on a far deeper level all the museums my parents have taken me to over the years, and feel so lucky to have experienced such places as the British Museum, Louvre, Uffizi, Smithsonian, the Met and Prado.
And so now my life has turned into not only emphasizing success through furthering my education and attaining degrees and certifications, but also by continuing to put myself out there, without a formula, without a set right or wrong answer and embrace the creative process. As uncomfortable as that may feel, with moments of self-doubt, I believe I am capable of doing what I set my mind to, working through those doubts to blossom into who my creative being is meant to be. My promise to you, is to continue to put myself in those positions and embrace the process.