Hello everyone. I’m excited to share with you the second part of my vlog series, Diary of an Artist: My Story Part Two. To recap from last week, me and my family had set off on a driving trip from Italy, all the way to Spain!
We were holidaying in Spain in a beautiful whitewashed house right on the beachfront. At the time I was a normal teenager and loved going clubbing – even though I’d seen plenty of different landscapes, no one would have said I would end up becoming an artist!
When I was 16, we moved back to England, which I really didn’t want to do because I’d become so attached to my life the way it was. It took me about 3 years or so before I felt settled in England. I couldn’t stop dreaming and daydreaming about my school and life back in Italy!
When it came to Careers Day at school, I had no idea what to do. I wished I’d had the ambition to become an artist back then, so I could have got to work on my dream sooner; all I wanted to do was to travel. Of course, I would have to get a job to fund any travels. My parents suggested I work in an office and I eventually got into work placements, which I really enjoyed. I got to meet lots of great people and enjoyed my social life.
I turned 22 and started seriously thinking about where I was going in life. By then I’d grown to hate office work and the 9 to 5 lifestyle that went with it. I was still itching to travel: when the recession hit, off I popped! I went travelling around America, Canada and some other places.
Before that there was a family holiday to New York and Arizona. While there I met this bloke and we stayed in touch through writing – days without the Internet! So when I went back to America, I planned on meeting up with this bloke again and I took all my artwork to show him. Of course, airport security questioned me about anything and everything.
While I was out there I ended up getting my very first commercial commission! A local café wanted a painting of a cup and saucer on a checkered board. If I’d stayed in America, I might have been able to build on that, but unfortunately I had to go back to England and find a real job.
I decided I really wanted to become a professional artist when I was stuck applying for job after job. I started drawing and painting with watercolours; I had lots of free time and would spend most of it practicing and learning about art.
I eventually got a job and would paint at weekends. Luckily, some colleagues commissioned me to do paintings and portraits. I knew I’d got the ball rolling! However, I had to stay in work to pay the bills and to fund my fledgling art career.
Then there came a setback: I was made redundant because the company I was working for merged with another company. One of the company partners gave me a rather life-changing parting gift: a professional Winsor & Newton art set. He told me to do something with my love for art.
I went through a few years of thinking I would never achieve my dreams and would end up doing office work for the rest of my life. Commissions dried up and there just seemed to be nothing on the horizon. I felt out of place at work; my lifestyle didn’t suit me at all. Something had to give.
And it did. One day a colleague suggested I go to careers advice. This was following a period of nine years of doing nothing related to art simply because I felt despondent and was sure I was never going to get anywhere with it.
The careers meeting was a success: I left determined to go to an art and design university in Surrey. That evening, the application form was sent off and a few days later, I was invited for an interview! I managed to put my portfolio together after visiting an art shop and asking the girl for help because I had no idea how to do it!
The interview itself didn’t go as well as it could have, at least that’s what I thought on the day. It needed to have gone well. Going to that university was the right thing for me – I felt it as soon as I walked through the doors.
A few days later, I got the letter and…I’d got in! The course itself was brilliant, even though I had to walk 20 minutes to the train station and get two trains there – it was so worth it. I was lucky enough to get on the degree course as well and to top it all off, I got into the halls of residence right by the library. Everything was sorted!
Throughout my course I became interested in artists as people. What makes a person create art and what life experiences do they pour into their work? My degree lasted for three years and I loved every moment of it.
One of my fondest memories from university is visiting London with some friends and having a nice meal on the riverbank. I love the hustle and bustle of cities; I also love how beautiful they look at night when all the buildings are lit up and stuff. It brings the city to life in a whole new way.
Of course, my university lifestyle wasn’t forever. I graduated in 2005. On to the next chapter of my life, which will come next week!
You can watch Diary of an Artist: Part Two here:
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