Sooooooo...... this happened!
I could not feel more excited, nervous, shaky, weepy, relieved, honoured, thankful & supported!
And I hope what I write next doesn't sound like some terrible Grammy's speech but I feel compelled to write just a little. Ok, a lot. I'm a feeling & story telling kind of soul so I just can't help myself.
When I left behind my important, well paid, but soul-less career 11 years ago to change the direction of my life & pursue my life long art passion, I had hoped that someday I could somehow 'make a go of it'. But I certainly didn't ever expect something like this would happen. Especially as, almost as soon as I started my visual arts degree I had to put it on hold, to focus & hang on to some difficult pregnancies & sick babies.
5 children later, my passion continued to take a backseat. There were countless nights up feeding tiny humans [and loving it all, well except that tiredness!] while my brain was bursting with ideas & desperate to find spare minutes. I did find those spare minutes. I created when they napped. I carried sketchbooks with me & made lists. I stayed up late & created. And then one by one, the little humans became a little less dependant & they created alongside me. Then they went off to school one after the other. And when my last little chicken was nearly 3, I began to see that the time was coming when I would not only be alone during the day, but that I would need to earn more money to help support our family financially.
Financially, I couldn't afford to return to my degree & I didn't want to put my son in care anyway. So little by little, I kept working away increasing my hours where I could. I set up my little online shop. I taught myself everything I needed to know about painting & using mediums to achieve certain looks. I picked up momentum. I took little courses here & there and added tricks to my toolbox. Then one day, I came across the Make Art That Sells courses run by Lilla Rogers and I knew these were the courses I needed to get my work from 'ok', to 'more suitable' for the commercial market.
Then I heard about the Global Talent Search. I've entered this competition 3 times! Each year I've worked harder & harder on personal work & course work throughout the year & when the competition has come around, I've given it all I could give each time. I decided 3 years ago when I first started these courses with Lilla Rogers, to just pretend I was already working as a full-time illustrator. Just faking it until I made it. I just kept creating, I continued to work on my style, work collaboratively & signing up to learn new things.
I've made it my obsession, working long hours with very little pay. This year I felt more prepared than the other years but with the amazing talent out there, I never thought I would make it all the way. Every round I hoped I would make to the next but never feeling quite comfortable. It was really hard entering this year after getting to the finals last year. I had to swallow my pride and just keep going. If there was any chance I could nab a studio spot, I had to give it my best.
I am so grateful that Lilla & her lovely studio ladies saw something in my work, worthy of awarding this unbelievable opportunity. What an inspiring group of ladies to work for.
I am so grateful to everyone who voted for me to get me through to the final round. And for all my family & all the creatives I've met over the years, for cheering me on, thank you, I feel loved. I hope I can do you all proud.
For now, a huge learning curve! I have a mountain of paperwork to do & images to gather. I have exploding inboxes in my email, Instagram & Facebook. It'll take some time to thank everyone. But I'll be back soonish to share what comes next!
Lastly, and particularly, to all those hoping to switch careers, to those mums who are in the thick of raising those precious babies, to those who are self taught, to those with limited commercial experience, to those that have passion but little self belief.... don't give up. Keep working hard. Do whatever you can to support yourself & your family & chip away at it little by little. The time will come when minutes will turn into hours and those hours will turn into full working days. Learn more, do personal work, keep putting yourself out there.
I never believed this was possible for me. But now I believe it is possible for YOU!
Huge squeezy hugs xo
Here's my final entries below and here's a link to all the incredible prizes! Totally gobsmacked!