It’s been pretty quiet around here lately…I’d like to tell you that I haven’t been in touch because I have been creating and designing like a mad woman. But that would be just an excuse. I have been flexing my creative muscles; just not in the way you would think.
And no, it had nothing to with cake…
A few months ago I finished my first year in business (yay, me!) and I looked around, evaluated where I was, and freaked out… I wasn’t unhappy about how I had done businesswise. Creative businesses are tough and take time and dedication; I was good with that.
But when I looked back over the last year, I felt that I had backed myself into a proverbial creative corner with my Animal Tales work. The Animal Tales had been extremely well received as a greeting card line. People began to seek me out at shows, request specific animals, and really want me to build on the stories.
In short, I began developing a reputation as the “Queen of the Little Animals”…
a title that both pleased and horrified me.
It pleased me because I had worked VERY hard to develop the animals’ photographic style and write their corresponding stories; I was very proud how it had all turned out. It horrified me because “Queen of the Little Animals” sounds a lot like “Lady with the 250 Cats who Throws Spaghetti on Her Ceiling.” I wasn’t quite sure if I was ready for that title—it’s kind of a scary, intimidating prophecy if you look long term.
Also I was faced with a dilemma. The Animal Tales were so attention grabbing that my other creative work wasn’t being looked at. And to be honest, I knew why: they were a tough combination to sell together.
Large, lush black and whites and rich floral prints don’t necessarily sit well next to
a crazy dinosaur experiencing life’s awkward moments.
I developed some very real concerns that if I continued with the Animal Tales series I would never be recognized for my other works. At the same time I didn’t want to walk away from the Animal Tales—I’ve got a lot more stories to tell with them.
So I got very quiet on social media, I picked up a lot of freelance work, and I went to France. Because where is better than France to get all introspective about your creative path in life? I spent a lot of time debating the pros and cons, wanting to follow my heart but having to analyze my fears and doubts. That all sounds very dramatic over a bunch of little animals, but I’ve always been that way.
I have resisted the title of photographer because it’s too limiting. I’ve resisted the title of artist because it is too broad. Creatively, I am like Goldilocks (minus the breaking and entering thing).
I am a photographer, a writer, a calligrapher and hand letterer. I illustrate concepts using whatever skill set most flatters them. If that means a 19th-century photographic process, so be it; if it means pen and ink on paper…great.
At the end of the day, I didn’t go into business for myself to feel limited and boxed in.
After much introspection, I realized that the common link that all my work shares is that everything I create is my take on a modernized fairy tale: the dark, the fantastic, animals and objects with human sensibilities. In the end, I concluded that my creative flexibility was my strength, and I began new work that was in line with my larger creative vision.
So, where is this all going???? Why don’t we find out—together?
I am about to set off on a creative journey that has literally been a lifetime in the making. Does that sound interesting to you? If you want to come with me, I’d love the company. In return I promise to be far more present on social media sharing my journey with you. My processes, the successes and the learnings. Along the way, I plan on doing some very cool giveaways as a thank you for your support.
Off we go…
And if you are one of the Animal Tale lovers: don’t worry, the little animals are sticking around. I’ve got at least a 100 more of their stories to tell. In fact you are going to be seeing a lot of them in the near future…They rule the holiday season around here.