Monday, April 18, 2011

Women in Art support each other

I am only now connecting the dots, 16 years later, between my Women's Studies and Art major in college. I attended UCSC from 1993-1995 as a "Re-Entry" student which means, "old lady over 25 or some such thing"...I was married, and had a son Alex, when I finally grasped higher education. I had no idea what to major in prior to transferring to UCSC, I just wanted a Bachelor's Degree. But you have to major in SOMETHING so I figured I would major in ART, and then I took a Women's Studies class, just before I transferred and I dug it so I thought, "maybe I can do both?" and I did. I was a double major and I felt like I was clever to get two degrees for the price of one...always a schemer, always looking to get the most for my money...haha. It was a perfect marriage. I made Art and learned about women, and loved the contrast and connection between the two subjects. Then I graduated. 32 years old and I got my degree. I was proud. It was hard. Now what...what the heck do you do with a Women's Studies/Art degree? I had another baby...and went back into full time motherhood. Ironic. And this was my story for 13 more years....
I quit art, never really thinking I was good enough to call myself an "ARTIST", even with an Art degree, and I didn't know what the heck to do with my Women's Studies teachings....become a Women's Lib leader? I worked odd jobs every now and then to get a fix for empowering myself, only to eventually quit after a year because it wasn't really "IT". I even went back to school and got an Interior Designer certificate from Las Positas college, thinking this was really going to be "IT". But it wasn't. I liked rearranging furniture and I loved to make things look pretty but I couldn't see myself working at a fancy Interior Designer showroom and ordering drapes, couches and rugs for fancy clients. I could see myself as the "Design on a Dime" type of designer but I never really got it off the ground. I am great at school, and then not so great at putting my learning into a "career". But wait, there is a happy ending!!!
I finally turned a corner in 2009 when I recommitted myself to art. I read the "Artist Way" and it lovingly guided me to my passion-Art. Oh yeah. I liked art once. I just never thought I was I decided to try it again. And that lead me to where I am now.
On a whim I looked into art studios and I found Benicia, completely off the radar and yet perfect for me. Affordable and funky=perfect. I started painting again. I was happy. I had a place to play and create. I made it cute. Adorable. I had a bed, a record player and an easel. I was in heaven. Then I had a good idea..."I can make it a shop AND a studio", and sell things and make enough money to pay the rent. So I opened Hip Chick Designs officially in January 2010. And I have been doing it for a year and a bit and I only recently realized this huge realization. "THIS IS WHAT A WOMEN'S STUDIES/ART MAJOR DOES FOR HER CAREER" She has a shop and art studio that facilitates women connecting through creative endeavors. Only 2 months ago we had our first art class at the shop and it was such a smash hit that it launched subsequent classes from then on. The energy of many women making art together is palpable and it validates my usefulness.
I facilitate women connecting through art in my space. WOW. Right on. This makes me feel truly valuable. I didn't even plan this all out. It is leading me, and I am along for the ride. I just made a commitment to do art, and see what happens. I have also made art friends online that are influencing the direction of my art immensely. My last post was all about my breakthrough in art thanks to the brave girls classes empowering me to be kinder to myself. Art therapy. As I was doing my 'homework' and making art that says "you are enough" I internalized it and realized we all need this validation. Women are too hard on ourselves. We expect soooo much of ourselves and we give ourselves no credit. That is sad, that is silly, that is not what I want for the women's movement. I want to empower women to live their dreams, to embrace their passions and to love themselves. This is the point. This is the women's movement that matters to me.
And in my small way I am contributing to it. By making art that speaks to women, by hosting women gathering together to make something beautiful, by living my dream, and by showing my daughter that when you do what you love, success follows. It's scary at times because I am making this up as I go along, but it's also really exciting. I have no idea where this ride ends, and the twists and turns are always there, but I know it's the right path, the one I was looking for all along. It just took awhile to find it. I hope you find yours, sometimes it takes a lot of digging, and trying different things to figure it out. Just don't give up, because if you are trying then you will get there. "Don't leave before the miracle happens."
I would love to hear if you are living your dreams and how you got there. I am inspired by others stories and I love the support women give each other. I thank you for your support and for taking time to care about mine. We need each other. Alone I am small, together we are mighty.