Right around New Year’s, my full-time job ended. I knew it was coming and while I’d been looking for another one I also had back-up plans. I never did find a good fit, or even a good replacement, so my back-up plans kicked in, but I’m okay with that because I was realizing something in the last month that I was at my job: that maybe there was another, better path for me – one that I just hadn’t found yet.
My neighborhood is one of several in my area that hosts a monthly Art Walk. The Art Walk is a monthly event where, by following a map of the participating vendors, people can see different local artists’ work hung up on the walls of local businesses. The artists’ work then stays up on the walls until the next Art Walk the following month. It’s a very fun event and was something I’d wanted to be a part of for over five years but always talked myself out of because I wasn’t good enough or I couldn’t afford to get my work framed, etc., etc., etc.
Well as I said before, I’d started working through The Renaissance Soul: Life Design for People with Too Many Passions to Pick Just One in December or November and had narrowed down my many passions and want-tos to the five I would focus on for now. Getting my photography in the Art Walk was one of them. So I had already started exploring framing and other presentation options for my photography when I went to learn how I could get in the Art Walk.
It was a good thing I was prepared because within a half hour, I had a tentative offer based on some old photos to be in this month’s Art Walk. The offer still had to be confirmed by the person in charge at that location but they’d been looking for a January artist and could I be ready in 3 days?
Could I? I told them I’d get back to them, left, and had a mild, happy panic attack. (Thanks to my dear friend for calming me down! :)
Calling my framing sources, I found out I could be ready by that Saturday morning (to hang everything), and I went to work.
I got little sleep the next three nights getting ready but it was worth it. And I had a lot of help from another friend in getting my newly framed pictures home.
Saturday morning found me hanging my professionally framed photographs on the wall of a small, perfect gallery in the back of the business. It was surreal.
It stayed surreal when I came back for the actual Art Walk and greeted people, and got to talk to them about my work.
The coolest thing about that night was not that I had finally fulfilled this years-long dream, but that I got to connect with people over my photos. I let people know I was there for questions and I was happy to find that most people did want to talk about the pictures – what exactly they were, where I had taken them, what the story behind them was…
And that word – story – sums up the night. I got to tell my stories about the photographs, and that was great, but even greater were the stories people told me: stories about their experiences in a place featured in one photo, stories from their childhood in another featured location, stories about how the photos made them feel, etc.
It was awesome. Because when it comes down to it, that’s what interests me in writing and in art – stories. That’s even what I centered my Bachelor’s degree around, taking every class I could find that centered on stories in any form. I knew it would help my writing because at the heart of it all are the stories of who we are, who we want to be, where we come from, where we’re going, and how we connect, and sharing those stories however we can – well that’s the best thing of all.