“Working Artist”

I’m writing an arts grant for my Beneath Our Skin Project and they ask applicants to write about their years as a “working artist.” So I’ve been reflecting on my path lately from the early rabbit cartoons I drew as a kid, the scar from an 8th grade linoleum tile carving project where I cut my thumb joint to the bone. Two years out of high school, when I returned to Nebraska to visit with my high school art teacher, “Teach” – a woman who was integral to my arts education, exposing me to as many mediums as possible in four years; often at her own expense – she asked me what I was working on. By then, I’d moved on to photography and I felt a little ashamed to say to her that I wasn’t painting or drawing any more. She looked at me and said, “you’ve just changed your medium.” I moved on to painting wall murals for a couple of years and volunteering to teach art lessons in a friend’s classroom and outdoor school. Upon entering college at 22, I took a couple of drawing classes but soon found myself leaning more towards writing as a craft. For years I’ve been writing pieces here and there. Working on a book idea or two. Published an essay in 2014. I’ve kept my hands busy with paper crafts and needlework, keeping my friends in scarves. Have painted a thing or two here and there. Two years ago I began to re-explore creativity through my master’s program and haven’t been able to stop being drawn to painting and making in various ways. So though “working artist” may not be the way people view me, I feel like I’ve been a working artist most of my life.

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