2017 was not my best year yet. I know that seems to be the popular thing to write and for a lot of people it was. But not for me. No for me it was one of my most painful years and it kinda sucked. A lot of things fell apart, people I loved died, some art didn't sell and it felt like an immense growth period I wasn't sure I'd survive or was ready for.
There were wins of course: Being selected for ArtPrize 9, meeting Elle Luna, hanging out with Heather Day, leaving my old studio, finding my current place and really deepening some friendships. But when things were low, they were really low and although every year feels like some kind of roller coaster ride, this year felt like something totally knew. Like literal pieces of my old self were being forced to fall away.
But here we are, December 31, 2017. Still alive, standing on my own and feeling so much lighter. Even though I know I've made some strides, I gotta say New Years generally makes me feel like I didn't accomplish enough. Like I'm not far enough into my career, like I didn't make enough money, like my highlight reel isn't as cool as everyone else's, etc. As this feeling began to wash over me again this year, hitting me even harder thinking about all the fire I had to walk through, I found an old box from my previous art studio.
In my old studio, I would write wants and wishes of anything that would come to mind on pink post it notes and post them all over. No wish was too small, too weird, or too crazy. The other day I found that box and sifted through old wishes from the past couple years. As I sifted through and read some of these, I was pleasantly surprised to realize I had actually made some of these come true.
When I wrote some of these, they seemed like far away fantasies. I literally remember writing some like "have my art featured in a magazine" and thinking "that will never happen". But I did them (a lot of them this year). Somehow I made the impossible possible and these post it notes helped me realize that power.
I've written some 2018 goals now and let me tell you they feel impossible to me. So so far off. But when I look at some of these post its, I can't help but smile because I made the impossible (for me) possible and I can do it again. You can too.
So goodbye 2017. I will not miss you, but I do thank you for helping me to realize my power. And making me a little more fire resistant.
As ArtPrize Nine comes to an end, I can't help but feel so happy, lucky, and just appreciative. When I first started this project it was really all about me and my own human experience. I had no idea it would grow, expand, spiral and become OUR human experience.
The project felt like diary entries. Some revolved around deep intimate feelings, while others incorporated the simple joys - like exercising for the first time in months. And isn't that what being a human is all about? The intimate, philosophical moments, and the seemingly simple joys.
When I finally arrived in Grand Rapids, MI last week to see the work all together at Light Gallery + Studio it really hit me. These images, these diary entries, these experiences....were a culmination of me and you.
Me - a 27 year old woman in Chicago.
You - a mother, a father, an activist, a 90 year old woman, a dreamer, young, old, tall, short, etc.
Different ethnicities. Different origins. So many differences, and yet when I look at the work, it just belongs together. We belong together. Because we are all humans navigating this world and when I looked at all 100 pieces on that wall it hit me more than ever that you are me, and I am you.
As these pieces are sold and make their way out into the world, I hope you remember that they (you) are not alone and that they are part of a much bigger story. Our story.
To view and purchase the work please click here.
Those that submitted stories and let me share a glimpse of their life. This is your project as much as it is mine.
Light Gallery + Studio for the opportunity
Helen Flores for being the best marketing rep
My amazing friends and family who keep supporting my crazy projects.