Well, this year didn't exactly go according to plan. I applied to about 13 different teaching positions and only got one interview for an after school day care program who took one look at my resume and told me I was over qualified. September came and went and all my teacher friends went back to school and I was left behind. I felt like staying in bed for a week. It was tough because I worked so hard to get my license and nothing has come of it. I have a 4 point and taught in a foreign country!! Does that mean nothing to you people?!
Everyone has advice for me. Subbing is their main solution. I'm sorry, but teaching subjects I'm not qualified in, with students that aren't mine, in a school that probably turned me down for a teaching position...nothing about that gets me excited. I also don't want to just teach art classes at my house after school because I don't want to be used as daycare, I don't have any supplies, and what about liability? What if little Timmy lights himself on fire in my house while we're drawing (don't ask why there would be fire, I'm sure they'd find some)? Right now I don't want to take on children without the support of a school.
So, that leaves me with what options? Work at a coffee shop or warehouse like I used to? Retail? Office work? Waitress? I've been on the teaching path for so long that most of my non-teaching positions are more than 5 years ago. I've now had 11 jobs in my life and feel exhausted by the meaningless work, awful coworkers, incompetent bosses, and constant threat of being let go. The more I thought about applying for jobs the more depressed I became. I didn't want just a job, I wanted a career. My teaching path might be at a stand still, but that doesn't mean I have to be. After a lot of thinking, sleeping in too much during the weekdays, and one too many nights surfing the internet past a reasonable time, I decided to become a full time artist. It's not something I ever considered before because it seemed so uncertain and open ended, but right now it feels like exactly what I need. It can become whatever I make of it and I'll be in charge (to a certain extent). It's big and scary but it feels exciting and that's something I haven't felt since I was teaching.
Now the research and creating begins. I've already created myself a studio space in the basement after I swept away a ridiculous amount of dead spiders, bought myself some art supplies to start with, and have bought a few special art related things on Craigslist. The most important and useful thing I bought were two tickets to the Open Studios Tour. During the 2nd and 3rd weekends in October 100 Portland artists open their studios for the public to walk through. Tickets cost $15 and it's been so worth it! I've already got contacts for framing, galleries, supplies, and some really awesome painting tricks, and that's only from the first weekend. I was so inspired by all the creativity this weekend that today I made my first painting since college, and while it sucked (really it looks terrible) I'm still excited and optimistic about this adventure.
This blog, along with my life, has changed directions. Instead of being centered on education it will be documenting my journey to become an artist. It will be a lot of creating, research, networking, and putting myself out there in ways I never have before. Hopefully soon when people ask me what I do I can call myself an artist without laughing or adding "kinda".
Here's to starting over, peace!