First off, let me say…I go to A LOT of coffee shops.
It’s a great way to get out to get work
done because accomplishing anything in my apartment can sometimes be a challenge in itself (another topic for another time)…anyways…if you’ve never been to Mutiny on Broadway, I highly recommend it. Their tea menu is… MMMMM SO good, and their bagels are always on point. I love the smell of old books, old buildings, and I LOVE the messy-lived in- dim-lit- aesthetic. It brings me comfort vibes. And if you know me, then you know I love nothing more than a cozy home, a big hoodie, a cup of warm beverage, and comfort knowing that I can zone out and get WERK done. SO yes, Mutiny. Highly recommended. Thought I’d spread the word.
Anyways, that’s not what this post is about. Before I get into the NOW, I wanted to tell you a little bit about how my art career started.
I think the first REAL memory I have of creating art was in middle school. I had this crazy cool art teacher and his name was Mr. Gonzalez. I took his art classes every single year of middle school. It was my favorite part of my day. When I was done with middle school I was super bummed to have to say goodbye to him, but after the summer was over, I was happy to find out that he decided to transfer over to the very same high school that I was going to. So naturally, I took his class every single year of high school as well. We’d have these black sketchbooks that we’d work in and I filled up SO many of them with the most random things. I can’t even tell you what I used to draw. I just remember being really happy when I did.
That brings me to high school…I was in high school when I found out that I was going to be a mom. When I found out that I was going to be a momma, I knew that I had to grow up, fast. So I actually ended up graduating a year early, I was 16. I was super lucky that I had enough credits that when I submitted my request, I only had to double up classes for one semester and boom. Graduated a whole ass year early. Which, being pregnant and having a baby that young… getting my high school diploma at 16 was a huge accomplishment for me.
After I graduated I struggled to decide what I wanted to do with my life. I worked SO MUCH RETAIL. So much AWFUL retail. Pac Sun, Fanzz, Aeropostal, Vanity… during this time my situation had changed and I was living on my own. I had moved out of my mom's house and it was just lil ol 17 year old me and my baby boy. I was in and out of apartments, lived with my boyfriend at the time, after we broke up I lived with my grandma for a bit, and then eventually got my own place after feeling like enough was enough. After my retail days, I worked in the pharmacy for a lot of years. I was a Pharmacy Tech, a Compounding Tech, and I even had the opportunity to work for Denver County Jail and Denver City Jail inside of their pharmacy. The pharmacy was not my calling. I eventually found myself working in higher education. I had NO idea what I wanted to do, all I knew was I was going to work my assssss off to make sure my son was taken care of.
After working about 7 ish years in higher education…making SUPER decent money for someone my age, I knew it was something I didn’t want to do forever, even though I tried to convince myself otherwise. I tried to go to college, I tried different positions in higher education, and no matter what I tried, I knew it wasn’t for me. I dropped out of college a hundred times. Literally. I wasted so much time and money on it and I super wish I would have listened to my gut and got out sooner because, hello student loans. Lol during all of this mess, I was drawing off and on through the years. Nothing serious by any means, mostly just for therapy.
About 4 years ago I felt super unhappy with my career, to the point that it was unbearable most days. I felt depressed and I was this version of myself that I was super unhappy with. I went out and drank a lot some days, and other times I wouldn’t leave my apartment for DAYS. I remember calling out for DAYS at a time because I just couldn’t stand to move. Depression is real ya’ll. Check on your loved ones. Often.
One day I decided to just shake it. I can’t really tell you what it was. But one day I just snapped out of it. I slapped my wrist and said, “LOOK CHELS, YOU WILL NOT BE THIS PERSON. YOU WILL NOT. YOUR SON DESERVES BETTER.” Sometimes you have to show yourself some tough love, ya know? So I started to think about the last time I was super duper happy. I remembered that art class in high school. I’m not going to say art saved my life because I saved my own damn life, but I will say…should you ever decide to have kids, or maybe you’re close to someone who’s in high school…you know just as well as I do, that high school MATTERS. It SHAPES YOU.
So…be kind to the youth. Love them. Guide them. Because that one little memory of high school, it brought me back to life.
Back to my story, I decided that I wanted to start taking art seriously. So I dedicated more of my time to draw. You guys, I DREW ALL THE TIME. I would be in my stupid little cubicle drawing for HOURS. Neglecting my actual job. Lol I was the worst employee of all time…okay, I won’t say that, because I was actually really good at my job, but I probably shouldn’t have been drawing on the clock. But even outside of work, I would go home and draw and stay up all hours of the night. I took up digital drawing on an iPad so that I could practice whenever I had the chance. If you don’t have an iPad I highly recommend this route. I’m going to say this in all caps because it’s really important—I WOULD NOT BE THE PAINTER THAT I AM TODAY IF I DID NOT START ON AN IPAD FIRST.
Obvioussssllyyyy, I’m not saying this is the only route to success because there are many. But it was a KEY factor into color studies, blending tools, and just flat out practicing a skill a thousand times before putting it to use. It’s like working out. The more you do it, the stronger you get.
Eventually, I took up acrylic painting and started putting my art into more art shows. I built a website and eventually started doing murals in March 2019.
It was a super slow transition but also super necessary. Everything happens for a reason. Had I not gone through the tough years, I don’t think I would be here at this point in my life. WANTING AND NEEDING this art life to work. I wouldn’t hustle as hard to make this shit happen. I hit rock bottom. And now I know what that feels like. And now I work hard every single day to make sure I don’t go back to that. Sometimes people will tell me how lucky I am that I get to sit around and paint all day. I’m not lucky. I damn near killed myself and sacrificed everything to be here. I put in hours, days, yeaarrsss of work. And even on my best day, I’m still not where I want to be. So I continue to work. I have no days off. Every day and every moment I fight to be here. I fight myself, I fight my family, hell, sometimes I fight the public. Figuratively speaking of course. I’m a lover not a fighter. :)
I hope this backstory helps you get to know who I am and where I
came from a little bit more. Talking about myself and the struggles
I went through is not something I take lightly. Even this blog, it’s super surface level. But I think it’s important for you to know because you’ll know that when I give you advice in the future about becoming an entrepreneur you’ll know what I’ve been through, you’ll know that I truly have felt your struggle and we are all in this together.
Anyways, I’m going to stop here for now. Next week, I’m going to talk about one of the below topics…do me a favor, write your favorite topic in the comments below!
1.Coping with artists block
4.Developing good habits/cutting bad habits
5.Quitting my job, taking the leap