11 Mar

The Five Year Note

The other week I was switching things around in my studio and decided to change some of the items I’ve had on my bulletin board for years. It’s a mix of things like invitations for shows, postcards with images I like, and bits of ephemera, leaves, and feathers. Everything has been up so long and unchanged that I’ve ceased to really see them anymore.

Laser cut letters

Included in these items was a note I’d written in September 2010 during a professional development workshop for artists. We were asked to tell ourselves what we would like to have accomplished in five years. I hadn’t looked at this note in some time, and I was surprised to realize that the full five years had almost passed since writing it. It’s 2015, and the future is now!

I had mixed feelings about reading the note, but overall I felt good. I’ve achieved many of the things I’d hoped for, while others are no longer important. One thing that stuck out from the note was my expressed desire to be working as a full time artist by 2015 and no longer need to work at something else part time. The reason this stuck out more than anything else is because I read this just as I’m starting a new part time job (which I’ve very excited about, by the way…) and shifting gears a bit from art as my full time focus.

Making art is my passion but it’s difficult to make a living at showing and selling (especially in the small Vancouver market). I’ve also found I need more than just art-making to keep me happy and stimulated, hence all the volunteer events I’ve worked on over the past few years. Now I’m at the point where I need the organizing and events to bring in income, because doing things for “the love” doesn’t pay rent and fill bellies with food.

I’m in a period of reassessing and reevaluating many aspects of my life, including how I pursue my art career. I’m allowed to change my mind, and what’s important now may not be five years from now. Finding the note was a good way to check in on how far I’ve come, how things have changed, and also how much I’ve managed to accomplish. But there’s still much to do, and I’ll be writing a new note to my future self to help guide me.

© Rachael Ashe