2018: It was awesome.
As usual, New Year's has snuck up on us and we can hardly believe the year is over. I feel like I am such a changed person from this time 12 months ago, it's really refreshing and brilliant to look back at everything I have learnt.
Beginning the year in a new home with a new housemate was a huge change for me. Having lived with Mum my entire life, moving in with my partner was a step into adult hood that I thought would be much easier than it turned out to be. Even though I loved the new place we moved into, and I love my partner more than anything, I couldn't help but feel completely displaced and somewhat homesick. Naturally enough, I didn't realise this at the time and simply tried to apply myself and have a productive start to the new year, and my new situation. Clayton and I joined the local gym, got a fitness plan in place and were loving tackling life as a team.
A bit out of sorts, I decided that I needed to cut toxic relationships from my life and make some new friends. I went to my first ever meet-up and it was a great experience. Even though I didn't make any new life-long friends, I realised that meetups were a great facilitator for friendships. It was then that I decided to start hosting my own "Artist Meetups" this year.
Not only was I facing a huge lifestyle change, I also for some reason decided to tackle a huge oil painting for the first time ever! Huge learning curve, but I've never looked back and have been painting with oils all year.
Hosted my first Artist Meetup and am so glad I did! Every month now I look forward to catching up with my meetup friends, they've become a great sounding board, support team and just generally awesome friends. I'm stoked that I put the effort in to cultivate a new friendship group, it's so important to surround yourself with people that are nurturing and on the same page.
I actually curated my only show for 2018 which launched in February. Admittedly, I did not enjoy the experience and it has prevented me from curating any more shows. Sad, but knowing when to quit something before it destroys you is a big step in the right direction. Rather than putting all my energy into curating other people's art, I was now going to apply myself entirely to my own art progress. Yippee!
We'd now been in our new house for a few months, and I was still a bit of an emotional mess. I thought I would start to settle in, but I felt super out of place and was experiencing some pretty intense mood swings. It was probably my worst mental heath patch in a number of years! (Still not that bad at all, but not my usual happy place.)
At this point me and my partner figured out that perhaps it wasn't just the house move that was making me feel this way... we figured out the culprit was actually THE GODDAMN PILL. Not sure if it was triggered by the stress of moving house or what it was, but the minute I came OFF the pill I felt more like myself. I went from crying almost every day to crying maybe once a month. It was a HUGE fucking relief. Even though I got all the awesome repercussions of not being on the pill (my skin is fucked without it and I'm generally in a lot more pain) I'm so glad that I stopped it. Suddenly my mental health and overall wellbeing wasn't such a huge battle.
With renewed clarity and wholeness, I threw myself and my energy into my art and art business. Was totally smashing things at the gym and with eating well. Me and Clayton were ironing out the little wrinkles that come with living together. Everything was finding it's proper place and it felt awesome. I went to another meetup and again reaffirmed the need for me to host my own instead of just attending someone else's.
I created one of my favourite paintings of all time, for the SPHERE group exhibition at Off The Kerb Gallery. It sold straight away! Super proud of this piece, it cemented that oil paint was where I needed to be, and helped me head towards a surrealist/figurative style that I wanted to be in. Getting such a great response to this piece helped give me the confidence to really take my art stuff up a notch. I did my first print run of this piece and realised I could actually begin to really get my art out there.
My priorities were starting to shift, I realised I need to make time for myself as well as time for socialising. Suddenly my confidence was improving, I felt a clarity in the direction I wanted my life to take.
Totally smashing life at this point. Super on point with everything and loving it. Celebrated our three year anniversary with Clayton, we've come so far and created such a wonderful life together. Made my first ever sale through my website - this was a huge eye opener for me as I realised I could be one of those 'successful' artists that I look up to. I'm so much calmer, happier and more positive at this point.
I'm making regular art sales and it's addictive, I realise that my hard work is paying off. I've gotten into a really good groove combining solid painting time with Instagram and mail list attention. I love sharing my art with others and I realise it's what I need to focus on in my life. I had a great birthday this year and felt very loved!
My mental fortitude slipped a little and I noticed some negative mental habits sneaking back in. I realised I was working too much and when that happens I sacrifice my own health and wellbeing! Good realisation to have, I doubled my efforts and got some really good meditation habits in place.
Came down with an EPIC illness of some sort - was bed ridden for a couple of weeks. This was the sickest I'd been in ages, again I hadn't been prioritising my own rest and recovery time. It reaffirmed in my mind that I'm the only one who's going to prioritise my own health and wellbeing and it's up to me to make it happen.
Spent lots of time and energy submitting artworks to group exhibitions, had my art accepted into a few shows in Melbourne, one in Sydney and one in the United States! Felt like the key to success was getting my artwork into as many galleries as possible. Started working on some cameo necklaces featuring my little art prints. My website was making more consistent sales and it was a huge motivation to keep pushing myself and learning how to share my art even further. This month I sold two original paintings which was a record for me!
My social media habits were getting a bit out of hand, it's so easy to waste your life just scrolling through Instagram! I stopped thinking of it was a form of entertainment or as a way to get validation - and started thinking of it as simply a marketing tool. I cut emotional ties from it and no longer allowed myself to get emotional rewards. This made it much easier to post everyday and then close the app when my work was done.
Still continued with my Artist Meetups, it was a great way to get me out of the house and socialising. Their advice and support has been invaluable in helping me grow and develop as an artist. I was commissioned to do a huge mural in the Melbourne CBD - mocked up the design, went and met the client. Was super exciting as I hadn't done a mural yet this year. Naturally - it turns out the client didn't actually have approval from their superior and the whole thing fell through. A nice reminder not to even do any mockups until you have a deposit!
My health was back on the right track, although I'd noticed that my meal portion sizes were gradually getting bigger to match Clayton's! Oops. Very easy to do. Made an effort to counteract that and also introduced a 24 hour fast once a week. I've long heard about the benefits of fasting and always wanted to give it a try. As someone who loves to eat and thinks about food A LOT, it was a test of my own will power to give it a try. And I loved it! Not only was I not hungry for the whole 24 hours, I was able to reset my relationship with hunger, food and eating habits. Since then, I've been doing a 24 hour fast once a week.
Did my tax return like a grown up, realised that with my art business actually generating an income I need to get on top of book keeping and boring business stuff. (Still haven't gotten on top of this haha). I dusted off some old mini frames I bought years ago and got some little prints made up for them. Turned out to be a huge success as all 6 of them sold off my website! It was just another breath of wind in my sails - if I make cool stuff then people will want it in their lives. I think I sold more this month than ever before!
Me and Clayton went and spent a week in Daylesford! It was SO relaxing and such a nice refresh. We relaxed, ate a lot of amazing food, reconnected, got out of our routine and reflected on our lives and what we wanted to accomplish. It was exactly what we needed. It helped me realise how much my surroundings influence how I feel. When we got home I did a big rearrange of my studio and our living spaces. I realised that I love being relaxed and don't want any stress in my life! Put in place some better meditation practises and started doing yoga every day when I got up.
Unfortunately it was time to learn the hard way that couriers are unreliable! Shipped my artwork off to Sydney for a group show - and guess what, it never arrived! Super disappointing but I was in such a zen mode after our holiday that I just laughed it off and chalked it up to experience. It was actually a great lesson to learn, because when it came time to ship my artwork off to the United States for a group show, I didn't use that courier and made sure to ship it off well in advance.
Installed my artwork at a bar in Moonee Ponds and at a gym in Thornbury. Always nice to see my artwork up in public places for people to admire. Unfortunately I've found that I make more sales on my own - no one is as good at selling my work as I am. Not venues, not galleries - just me. It's a great burden but also a great realisation, that it's all within my control. And if I want to share my art with the world, it's up to me to do it. Think I made a new record for most sales again this month through my website!
Had a stressful start to the month which resulted in me getting VERY sick again! In retrospect it's pretty obvious to me that my immune system is pretty solid unless I get stressed, and then I generally get sick. Flu like symptoms had me bed ridden for the week. I discovered an advertisement for the Redbubble Artist Residency program - thought it sounded amazing and I submitted my application. The process for it really made me think about what I want from life, from my art and what I want to accomplish in 2019.
Made a new batch of cameos and jewellery featuring my art! I ruined most of the stock I bought, woops. Realised that it actually takes a bit of practise when working on a new process, guess I was a bit cocky and thought I'd smash it perfectly on the first go! I learnt a lot and having a massive screw up is always the best way to learn. The painting I sent over to the US didn't sell, they shipped it back to me. I realised that exhibiting overseas is expensive AF and doesn't guarantee a sale. This reinforced my notion that I'm better off focusing on selling my work on my own.
Hasn't this month just flown by!! I was working double the amount of shifts so everything was a bit chaotic. Luckily I didn't burn out like this time last year, so still found time to do my Xmas shopping and a little bit of painting. Unfortunately I didn't get organised enough to really smash my own art sales for Christmas. In fact it was like my slowest sales month of the year! A good lesson that things need to be in place well in advance to ensure that everyone can have a bit of Miss E under the Christmas tree next year. I did participate in the 12x12 Group Exhibition at the new Stockroom Gallery location inn Clifton Hill. It was great fun to be part of such an epic show and I met lots of cool artists.
Not to mention the huge news that I won a Redbubble Artist Residency! Amazing, still in disbelief that I got it. It has given me such an amazing outlook for next year and I can't wait to get stuck into it. Even though it's not til August, I'm going to act like I'm doing the residency for the whole year leading up to it - just smashing home runs.
Anyway, that's my year in review. A little rocky in the beginning, but I have grown so much from every road block and I wouldn't change a single thing. I am so grateful for the life I have built for myself. In particular, I am so grateful that I have Clayton in my life. I know it's super lame and romantic - but he is the best team mate I could hope for and he gives me the support and encouragement I need to be the best version of myself. I'm so excited for the next phase of my life! Squeee! Thanks for reading guys, and thanks for your ongoing interest in my artwork. It means the world, and I love sharing my journey and my creations with you.
You guys rock! Please take a moment to check out all the jewellery I still have available!