Through this first week of 2019, I am looking back at 2018 and events that have helped me get to where I am today.
One big step that I took in October was leaving my full-time job after 3 years to pursue my art career full-time. This was definitely daunting and a little scary, but it was something that was necessary so that I could keep moving forward in my artistic career. This gave me the opportunity to try out full-time freelancing and dive into making art on my schedule.
In August, I was contacted by Smithsonian Magazine to do an illustration for an article about snowy owls. This was really exciting because it would be my first time getting published and it would be distributed nationally! The project had a quick turn-around of only a week, so I had to work quickly while also working my day job. I submitted my snowy owl feather illustration, waited patiently for about a month, and then the magazine hit stands! Seeing my work in print, in the magazine, and with my name credited was very exciting. I was happy to share the magazines with my family and friends who have all been there to support me through my artistic journey.
I attended my first art festival as a vendor! I returned to the Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA), where I graduated in 2015, to sell work at the 11th Annual Art Market. There, I got the chance to sell my work, catch up with old friends, and talk with patrons of the arts! Through this experience, I gained insight into who my potential clients will be, what type of art sells well, and getting my name/brand out into the world. I am determined to build on this success and attend more art festivals this year.
Finally, I attended the 50th annual Guild of Natural Science Illustrators’ Conference (GNSI) conference in DC. The Guild is a group of artists, scientists, and other talented communicators that create artwork with the goals of engaging and educating viewers. I felt like I benefited from this conference a lot because I was able to connect with many artists, gain (and apply) professional knowledge, and get more involved with the organization this year. Because the conference was held in DC, I was a “local” and had opportunities to volunteer as a museum guide to our group and help install our juried exhibition.
Overall this year has been about challenge and growth, both personally and professionally. I am looking forward to continuing this journey to see where it takes me.