12 months ago I made the decision to go back to art college.
My journey in the arts began 20 years ago when I undertook a Foundation Course in Art and Design leading to an academic background in 3D and Industrial Design. This led to a colourful career spanning 15 years working in the creative industries across systems and service design, futures, innovation and business strategy. I have used creative approaches to design and improve everything from foot care to funerals to financial services.
My journey has come full-circle: I am now studying - part time - a Diploma in Fine Art at the Art Academy in London, developing my art practice alongside selling my artworks internationally.
Image courtesy of the Art Academy
Prior to making the decision to go back to College, I’d been experimenting with making art for a few years. For years I balanced a hectic career whilst suppressing a growing instinct to create. Outside of work I’d spent an increasing amount of time going to life-drawing classes, even dragging family members and friends along to taste the heady delights of representing these beautiful forms. Increasingly, I had a growing sense of discontent inside of me and finally I made the plunge to become a freelance contractor, so that I could spend more time exploring and developing my art practice. For 9 months I tried to spend time on my practice, however without the discipline or rigour of a course to get me into a flow and repetition I struggled.
And so I made the decision to go back to College.
Going back to College was a huge decision, on many levels:
It’s not just the cost of the course fees, it’s the time taken off work where you’re not charging a daily rate. Plus the cost of art materials - the true cost is probably much more than what you'd initially expect.
Committing to something new requires a leap of faith. Both the highs and lows that everyone faces when they embark on a new journey can feel unsettling and uncomfortable, but ultimately are there to test your resolve, commitment and ability to find new and creative solutions to hurdles.
3. Personal Identity:
That dreaded question from strangers: ‘so, what do you do?’. The continual insecurity of your own questions: what am I? An artist? A design and business consultant? A freelancer? Most people tend to like to put people in boxes - they find it easier to relate and often feel more secure. But when you're embarking on a portfolio career notions of identity can become more muddled - especially for those who are on more linear and straightforward career-paths.
12 months on I can say that over the past year I've experienced everything from the highest-highs to extreme moments of doubt. Opening a door to a new world and a new life path can be scary and frustrating, yet also exhilarating. I will be writing more about my experiences from both my first year in college and in the art world in future posts.