Pivotal Event #4 “I quit school.”

In 2005 I was still trying to decide what career I could embark on that would create financial stability for me, and if at all possible, still give me an outlet for my creativity. Although I deeply wanted to paint full time, and wished it could support me, I didn’t really believe that was an option. So I decided to enroll in a joint graphic design program run by Emily Carr University of Art and Design and BCIT.

I lasted six months in school, just enough time to pick up the skills to design my own business cards and website (with the real expertise coming from a housemate who was a graphic designer ;-). But during that time I realized an intrinsic part of my creativity was to care deeply and be interested in what I was doing. I just couldn’t “get into” the exercises and assignments with any enthusiasm, though I admired my classmates who loved the challenge. I knew deep down graphic design was not for me.

So six months into the term, I quit. This was absolutely a pivotal moment for me, both personally and for my art career. It marked me standing up for what I really wanted to do, rather than trying to follow what I thought were the expectations of “society” that I should choose a more responsible and traditional way to support myself. I decided I would learn to be an artist by being an artist. I was determined to spend as many hours a day painting as I had spent in class on a computer.

Photo above: Can you guess what this? In my early days of painting I used whatever surfaces and tools I could find. This is a picture frame turned into a large flat “brush” so I could smear paint across large surfaces.

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