Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up.
So let’s address the problem.
Money - to make art
Money - to sell the art
Money - to survive.
What most Artist’s Don’t Have? - Money
It doesn’t take long for a child to put together that Money is needed to get what they want. What I wanted, was to make things. Anything. Everything.
The idea of doing anything else with my life was like signing up for years of torture. Sounds dramatic, I know, but for a kid like me struggling with learning disabilities, struggling to read or write, Art was the little light flickering at the end of the tunnel and I was going to make it there. All that was needed is 2 steps.
Make - the Art Part
Sell - the Business Part
Oh but if only it was that simple…
Elementary School I made decorated fruit baskets and sold to my Mom’s friends that couldn’t resist my cuteness.
Middle School I slung Candy and Hand Drawn Mazes from my backpack.
First year of High School, a friend and I made Button Bracelets and covered our arms in the merch.
Later in High School I tried selling Pastel Portraits despite not being that good.
In College I started Face Painting and Balloon Twisting where I got a taste of success.
Also tried Jewelry making, that was a huge fail.
Upcycled bottles and Coke Can Flowers, even bigger fail.
Sport Zombie Prosthetics, mini success, so now I get to work on weekends and seasonal. Great.
Keep trying keep trying keep trying.
Watercolor Pet Portraits, Fail.
Belly Cast Decorating Fail.
Just plain old selling my Artwork (every age)
At Craft booths - Fail.
At Art walks - Majority Fail.
At Small Galleries - Fail.
Online - Fail.
For way less than it was worth - STILL a complete Fail
Graduated from college with a bachelors in Art and emphasis in ceramics.....Now what? So far I have failed.
My first successful business venture was TaylorAnnArtParty, professional face painting and balloon twisting. This business was perfect for when I was in school, not what I had hoped to do forever, but it provided some creativity, some income.
However, getting married meant moving to San Diego and losing my only income, my only success. I’d have to start from scratch again in SD, except this time I did not have the time to wait or funds to grow quickly.
I sorta had my 2nd successful business, selling handmade softball and baseball Halloween prosthetics on Etsy. Yet that's once a year, and honestly pretty bad profit margins.
It was at this point my childhood dream looked very dim and my future was unknown.
Leading up to the wedding I had fully revamped my website into a huge portfolio basically saying I can do anything Art you need, just ask! PLEASE
Desperately trying to get any work I could but in the end I had maybe 200 followers on Instagram with a handful of people that actually bought any art from me. That's it.
Everything I did was not enough to make at as an artist full time. I was so embarrassed to join Chris's family without a thing to my name, I knew it didn’t look good ".....so she doesn't really work? ...she's never worked? ...Chasing some wild dream, good thing she's marrying an engineer." Maybe no one thought that, but I did. That’s what fueled me to pour out my soul and creativity on my wedding day.
Art has a way to mask your insecurities, It’s like painting a better picture of yourself. I didn’t have a lot I could say for myself, but I could at least show who I am.
In short, It WORKED. I had never felt so happy, the colors of the sunset shining through. Wearing my heart on my sleeve…well skirt, on such a big day gave me the confidence I needed. Everyone was thrilled to have an Artist in the family. One problem…..
That was only one day. One amazing day that was just for me. There was a little buzz after my wedding about the dress but nothing came of it.
We thankfully were given a free honeymoon and enough gift/saving money to get us through June…. then July………. things are getting tight now, August, not a single sale in the new city, September….. my time was running out.
I needed to contribute to the bills. No money to fund any new art ventures, no sales, “no followers”, no income, no hope left.
Thought for a second I could sell my wedding dress to buy some time, but who would buy a painted dress, it seemed a blank canvas would more valuable.
It was September 4th 2016, months after my wedding, I cried myself to sleep holding job applications and handing over my dreams. I wasn't able to make it as an artist, as an entrepreneur, I'd have to put my dreams aside. I prayed, surrendering my hopes for the Lords, admitting I can't, only He can. I gave up.
For the first time, I gave God the one thing I thought I couldn’t live without. Trusting God with all I had, that this wasn't the end that he still had plans for me, they just might not be the plans I had. I didn't ask for a miracle, I just surrendered. If He has set for me to stock shelves and make one new work friend that I can tell about God and bring to Him, I would, and I would be content in doing so.
I'll admit part of me didn't believe I even could do that, so I prayed my dreams and desires would change to His. That he would give me strength, Over and Over again, for only His plans His will. Crying until I fell asleep.
Only a few hours later, as the sun rose my Facebook and Instagram notifications chimed like an alarm.
I thought it so odd, how were these random people finding my art page? I went to get more job applications…..and my phone kept chiming. Then a tag.
There it was, a wedding picture of me in my crazy painted dress on the front page of a UK gossip blog climbing in the ranks and likes. They didn't credit me, just cropped off my head and posted it. Millions saw it, people hated it, people loved it, and thousands searched for me.
From there, my painted wedding dress was skyrocketing into viral wedding madness.
Hundreds of people started asking for me to paint their dress, and I just said yes.
Again crying, this time because God gave me more than I had asked and blessed me more than I could have imagined. For a week my phone would not even work from notification overloads. I was able to collect a few deposits so I could afford some equipment and turned the 2nd bedroom of our home into my workshop.
Since then I have been able to be a full time Artist, even got my own studio down the street from my home, and contribute to the bills. Knowing that God gave all this to me is unreal. I laugh a little that He waited till that moment, when I gave up, to give me everything. I think He knew I'd get a little cocky if it wasn't crystal clear that He did that, not me. He also knew that this assurance in him would be the rock I stand on every step of the way. Every Day. This business has been one of the hardest challenges I have ever faced. The stress more than one can bear but I'm not alone.
For me, the craziest part of all of this, the thing that still brings me to tears, is none of this is for Him. I’m not preaching to the masses or starting a non-profit. He gave this to me simply because he wanted to.
"For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." - Jeremiah 29:11
"And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him." - Colossians 3:17
This is my personal story, I will always be true to myself here and not hide. Please be respectful, ( consider and regard the feelings, wishes, rights, traditions, beliefs, of others.) Remember, you don’t have to be in agreement to show respect for one another. If you wish to be a client of mine one day I won’t regard you any differently as a christian or not. I will share, I will answer questions, I won’t push, I will avoid judgment, I will monitor comments and not allow hate in either direction. Thank you for taking the time to read my story.