Last month, Jules at Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast posted a wonderful interview with illustrator Carson Ellis. I love Carson's artwork and she sent a lot of it to enjoy while reading her interview. I was happily settled in to reading when she mentioned that she'd moved around a lot after college and was a cocktail waitress in four different states. I laughed out loud!
I've also moved around a lot have had a variety of odd jobs. I read the rest of the interview thinking about how every artist has probably had something in their past like Carson's serial cocktail waitressing.
I was brought up to believe it was important for me to have a career- something respectable that would make a difference. I became a musician instead. That was ok with my family. I played the oboe and practiced very hard and was actually started on my career, even if it was a slightly suspect career as a musician. But then I quit. (Long story.) And since then I've bumped around from job to job, making a living so that I can do art in my free time. There's no doubt in my mind that I'm an artist but that's not the same thing as having a career as an artist.
It's hard not to be frustrated going to work at a job every day when you really just want to be creating art. But those jobs bring us so many good things, too- new friends, skills, knowledge, conversation, variety, laughs, and of course money. I'm happy I'm an artist and I definitely want to be a full-time career children's book illustrator. But in the meantime you can find me selling prescription medication at Lyon's Pharmacy!
These are the jobs I've had in my life:
bird survey counter
assistant to black-footed ferret breeding program
delivery driver for a medical lab
waitress & hostess at 6 restaurants: Chinese, breakfast, Indian, vegan, cafe, and fine dining
picture framer in 5 different businesses and self-employed
movie theater operator
art galley sales
production printer of fine art etchings
greeting card deign and sales
retail antique and gift sales
grocery store stocker
Tell me about your favorite or worst jobs!