Twenty Eight years ago I began selling my fine art. I was creative at a very young age, but chose another path to make a living, and while that [automotive] path was filled with creativity, I certainly didn’t think of myself as an artist.  At 30 years old I was doing pretty well, but there was an inner creative drive, a voice.  Something was calling me and I decided to follow it.

I walked away from a career that had been exciting and had served me very well. This all in the name of taking risk for deeper personal growth. I wanted to explore creative expression and I knew it wasn’t going to be easy, but I had gained business knowledge and knew at least that part would not be my obstacle.  You might think the hurdles to follow would all have to do with learning how to paint.  Well, assuming I do know how to paint now, that wasn’t the biggest hurdle.  The big hurtle was going to be the self management of being an artist.  Not just the painting, but knowing how to satisfy myself while finding a demand for my work and putting it all into action.

Let me share that the business of art [generally speaking] is no different than any other business. The key is understanding how to blend creativity with business and by that I mean any business, because all businesses have to think or be creative. Furthermore, as an artist you must understand that you are the product.  Art is not simply viewed as a product in of itself.  Art, any art, is a product of artistic expression and therefore you the artist become an inherent part of the product… and I might add, its rejection or praise. You know that old saying, You are what you eat?  Well, you are what you create too and it is also you. You represent each other.

The first painting I sold those 28 years ago very likely lacked a high level of skill, but it did not lack a high level of experience as a human. I wasn’t a child, but I was learning a new language, a new form of communication.  Since that day I have sold millions of dollars of my art, donated and raised tens of thousands in charity and achieved the creative expression I was looking for.  The point of this only being, that often when one takes a risk and invests in growth, magic can happen. With that magic comes happiness, friendship, relationships, skill, rewards, personal gratification, the ability to be part of your community and maybe leave something lasting behind.  I don’t have kids, but maybe in a way I do!

The question I ask myself today is, what more do I want for myself creatively.  As I knock on the door of a 30 year career, is there a new horizon, a new direction, a new way of expressing myself, a new way of inspiring others?  Well the answer there is a simple yes. It’s that unwritten chapter in every artist’s book that one I can’t wait to read and for those of you out there in your first creative year or your twentieth, enjoy each as much as the next.

I should say that I will be celebrating these 28 years by honoring a favorite landmark.  One in our area that I don’t think gets the credit it deserves and that is Ashby’s Gap.  This special show will be hosted by my good friends The Hill School, in the Sheila C. Johnson Performing Center, with the reception Thursday, October 13th from 5;30 – 8:30.  I hope to see you there.

Live An Artful Life, truly!

Tom