I was very excited at the idea of attending art and design university full-time. I could finally say goodbye to office work and do something I knew I would really love. I was driving into town and all I could think about was starting this new chapter in my life. I was a bit nervous, but wouldn’t let that stop me from finally doing something about my dreams. It was going to be a dream come true to spend every day painting, drawing and researching art history. Part of me thought this wasn’t the right thing to be doing. Was I pigeon-holing myself? What if I finished the course and there were hardly any options open to me? What if I don’t end up where I want to be?
I visited the local art shop and the girl behind the counter very kindly helped me with my portfolio. She helped me choose one and gave me advice on how to put it together. It took me no less than four hours to put it together! I added more pieces of artwork over the next week or so.
I filled in my application form and sent it off. That was it – I’d made my first pro-active step. I was happy with myself, but I wasn’t guaranteed a place just yet. Fortunately, I received a date and time for my interview. I had to skive off work to make the interview, but sometimes these things crop up and you can’t miss them just for the sake of going to work. There was no way I was going to miss this interview.
Once I was there, I met one of my future tutors, though I didn’t know it at the time. We had a nice conversation while walking down one of the university’s many long corridors. He asked me what my aspirations were and I told him I just wanted to be a full-time painter for the rest of my life.
Once I was done, I went back to my car only to find a fine on the windscreen. I’d been unable to renew my tax disc because of a lack of funds, and I hoped no one would notice. I remember being annoyed, but I then realised that it was only a small, insignificant setback. One day I’d be living a great and successful life, and a fine wasn’t going to get me down.
That September I started a foundation course. There was a lot to take in and a lot of changes happened over the course of the next ten months. Not only did I learn a lot, but I also made some new friends. We’d socialize together and visit art galleries in London. My new life was taking shape all around me.
I took the course seriously and worked very hard to pass all of my module and exams. My hard work paid off when I was guaranteed a place on the degree course. I spent the following summer working in the paper shop close to where I lived and still saw my artist friends regularly.
That September I moved into halls of residence for the first full year of my degree course, after packing up my apartment and letting it. The degree course lasted for three years and I enjoyed every second of it. It was like I was already a full-time artist, except I wasn’t being paid for it. As I worked hard for my degree, I kept imagining what it would be like to actually earn a living working as an artist. It would be great having friends come over to my studio to paint and catch up.
Even after I graduated from university, I never stopped dreaming of being a full-time artist. One day at work the opportunity presented itself to me and I went with it. I didn’t necessarily know how to go about building up a business, I just knew what lifestyle I wanted.
Now I can happily say I’m living my dream.