Let me tell you some more...
Have you ever looked at someone in their career and wondered, "how did they end up on that path? What sparked that hobby for them?"... I have had quite a few people in my lifetime, mostly when I was very young, ask me when did I realise, I had an artistic skill? I didn't really think too much about it, but of course as a child, I was aware of the fact that what I made or drew made people react in a positive way. I received compliments and praise a lot with my creativity both at school and home. Children thrive on praise so I suppose this fed my urge to create even more things as I worked out that this is something I can do, and do well.
A really popular TV show that use to be on called Art Attack was definitely my number one influence when it came to making things. I was obsessed with that show and after every episode, I would go off and find what I could to make whatever was demonstrated on the episode for that day. I was also a huge fan of Finger Tips and Smart as I found great joy just zoning out into my own little world and letting my imagination get the better of me through creating.
Growing up, I didn't actually want to focus my future career on art until my very late teens. Up to the age of about 14, I wanted to be a Vet (or have some sort of job that was animal-related). Later, I then decided I wanted to be an Art Teacher for a Secondary School or College but whilst doing my A levels at New College Stamford, I realised being a self-employed artist was exactly what I wanted to be.
After studying for three years in total at Stamford (A levels, then a foundation year in Art and Design), I decided I wasn't completely ready for University as I needed to find myself as an artist before committing to a specific course. I had two years off from education working part-time in retail and building up my own personal portfolio. I was about 19 when I did what you could call, my first commissions for family and friends (tattoo designs, illustrations for t-shirts etc).
I eventually started studying Fine Art at Norwich University of the Arts for four years. This was challenging as you are taken out of your comfort zone completely, working in ways you wouldn't normally work; people you wouldn't normally curate with; ideas and paintings you wouldn't want to choose; it was very eye-opening, that's for sure. One of my weaknesses is losing control when it comes to my art which is why studying has always been a challenge as you have to follow briefs and stick to them. This is exactly like doing commission-based work which is a skill I have learned to do with ease because of the way education pushes you to your limits. It's proven to be an important, necessary skill for any artist as we won't always want to paint what we are requested to paint.
So since graduating with a Fine Art Degree, I have worked at various schools and in retail whilst working on my career as a Fine Artist. It has its challenges self-employment, but the hard work is worth it if you want your biggest passion in life to be your career.
"It's not always about the finished outcome, but the journey it took to get there"