Monday, February 15, 2010

being your life

A good friend of mine forwarded me J.K.Rowling's Harvard commencement speech. The title "The Fringe Benefits of Failure and the Importance of Imagination" speaks to me as an artist, as a person who like many other creatives, has had to choose a road that doesn't guarantee a golden parachute but instead one that has an uncertain ending.

I won't attempt to paraphrase her message. Please take time to listen to her yourself. But what I will do is tell you that she makes me proud of my choices. If you are like me and have chosen the creative, non-corporate, unstable, make your own way road, you too may feel proud of your choice. We have taken a risk. Many of us have taken more than one risk with our careers. We forego the 9-5 for our dreams. If you are like me, you have failed along the way. I have tried many different avenues of illustration. Trying on each one like a 17 year old girl searching for that perfect prom dress. And some felt better than others. Some were ill-fitted, ugly dresses that made me look dowdy. Others seemed pretty good, but then over time I found them constricting and not playing to my best attributes. So I decided to go the prom in a dress I made myself.

What I connect to most, is that she says if she had been successful at something else, she wouldn't have finished her book. I know that I have had many artistic diversions in my life, Art director, Designer, Advertising Illustrator, Technical Illustrator. Being good at all of them enough to stay employed and bring home a steady paycheck. But, in my heart that is NOT what I want. Her message reaffirms to not give up on what you love. Remembering, failure can allow the the runway to start something new.

With that, I embrace my past, my present, and my future.


BJ said...

You go, girl. Sometimes we have to open our doors and get out of our own way. I have been a graphic designer, creative director, marketing director, account exec, and editor in chief. And 9 years ago I made my prom dress....and am much happier in it! However, I have a feeling that this isn't my last dress...I always have my eye on new patterns :-))

Jeremy said...

I just stumbled upon your blog and I have to say "thanks." I'm a graphic designer/illustrator (trying to do more with my illustration) who got laid off from my job of 13 years and I really "needed" to read this entry. And now I'm going to bed, feeling a little less anxiety-filled.