Why Art?

Updated: Dec 26, 2021

My Art Journey and light biography Please forgive me if this is a jumbled mess, I'm new to blogging but I hope that my experiences help others <3. I realize there's some mentions in the timeline that are not about art but those experiences impacted my art journey. How did I get started in art and why do I choose to continue to create? Honestly, I have always been drawn to creating anything and everything I can. My earliest memory is looking for an art kit in the 80s. After that was sewing and creating clay and mud sculptures in Texas. I started making graphite tattoos in 4th grade and bead weaving in middle school. I burned myself making spaghetti in 4th grade and have been playing some kind of musical instrument since 3rd grade. I have always been stage shy so I've never recorded anything. I cook like I paint. Highschool I focused on pottery and graphite.

Fairy hiding under a mushroom in the rain hiding her face from the light of fire from a match.
Fairy sketch 2006

It's been a long journey trying to find my path as an artist and as a business. The end of my Senior year of Highschool, I thanked my art teacher for 4 years of art classes. It was met with how I would never be an artist and ridiculed in front of the whole class. I don't know why I was met with such aggression but I've heard of others who have had such experiences. Maybe it was my appearance or that I didn't fit in with the standard still-life's. I knew then that I wanted to create fantasy art but I followed the assignments and had straight A's through her classes. Not that every Highschool Art Teacher is like that, some are amazing! I got married in 2006 at 18. I didn't create art for about a year and then jumped into Tattooing in 2007. I wouldn't recommend Tattooing without some kind of guidance. I wasn't really ready for it but it helped pull me out of my art depression enough to decide I wanted more formal instruction and training. I wanted a career doing what I have always been driven to do.

In 2009 I started classes at The Art Institute of Pittsburgh Online Division. I wanted to be a

game designer. I wanted to create the next big MMO! It started pretty satisfying. The teachers and other students were really nice and worked really well together. I maintained a 4.0 gpa for the first year. After that, things started to get weird. They removed the degree progress section from the website so that you had to call to see where you were at. I was always "just about halfway there!". My Financial and Academic advisors were changed fairly often. My main focus on art was the subject or main image. I wasn't really doing much with background, foreground, or frame.

In 2011, I tried switching to the Graphic Design program because most of my classes also applied to that program. By this time, I was pretty burnt out and I thought that I could at least finish up an Associates degree to try and get some kind of work. I was "just about halfway there!" I dropped out in 2012 with 80k in debt and no degree. The school was sued in 2012 for scam practices and shut down some time later. I'm still trying to receive loan forgiveness or find a way to pay it off. Depression was in full swing and I also ended my marriage.

I didn't do much in 2013 or 2014. I started working as Tech Support troubleshooting and customizing Minecraft Servers for a hosting company. It didn't pay much but I enjoyed the technical aspect and my co-workers. I started trying to figure out how to teach myself the business side of being an artist. It was really rough going and I didn't really get anywhere.

In 2015, I bought a Cresent Rendr sketchbook. I was so excited because nothing bled through no matter what media I used in it. I started going back more to abstract and working on linework. I started doing more doodle art to work on textures and patterns. I also experimented more with the frame of the image. The black and white doodle design with flowers and leaves, I did in the hospital. It was a significant time to me because I almost died from a blockage.

In 2016, I started working lightly with color and acrylics. It was emotional year for me. Starting in January, my adopted dad went into the hospital. Feb-March he was released to die at home. Both he and my grandfather died late April and early May around my birthday. I channeled everything I could into my art and it was easier for me to work in more abstract symmetry. It was a lot like meditation for me. Early April, I also went to stay with an old friend to help him out while we were both in difficult points in our life. We've been together since and has been a huge support in my life.

My grandmother passed away near my birthday and on Mother's Day 2017. It's really hard to talk about around this time because it was so painful. I started taking the abstract symmetry and working with Corel Painter and Artrage. I was still lost business wise and not sure how to get my work out there. This is about when color started making more sense to me and I started working more with complementary colors in creating form. I also learned the basics of Macramé.

In 2018, I moved to New York where my partner is from and it's been a long scramble to work on getting established in a new state. I started adding more animal portraits into my work but got distracted with moving and I was working two online jobs at this point. I was doing mostly Digital Symmetry with adding what I had learned with abstract and doodle. My rendering was still a bit more hit or miss. I also picked up and learned how to spin alpaca fur into thread and knit! I got my first Low D Irish Whistle.

In 2019, I got involved with a local creative group and the Witches and Heathens of CNY. I definitely recommend getting involved with local groups as a creative! There's so much experience and others dealing with similar things that it's great support. I also started working at a gas station to supplement some funds. Luckily my boss had no problem with me sketching but it was very fast paced and stressful at times. Toward the end of the year I was working more with acrylics and I started really pushing my boundaries on what I could render. My favorite example of that is the zombie holding her eye out. I started painting more on wood and I love it! I love the drums and have always wanted to play them. I finally sat down with our electric drum kit.

In 2020, I worked for the first part of the year but Covid hit and I stayed home to take care of and reduce the risk for my family. I started working with 3d printing and sculpting with Blender and ZBrush. I had some previous experience with the programs when I was trying to get my Game Art and Design Degree. It was a big year for me art wise because the quarantine made it easier to focus. I did my first large woodworking project and made a Hidden Cat Litter Box Cabinet. I also bought a printer and started realizing I had more skills than that translated better as a business. Up until this point, I had mostly looked through and added my art to Print on Demand websites to try and get my work out there. Without a lot of advertising, my work was there on nice products but not a lot of views. It was also limited to only my digital art. I started an alt account on Instagram under the pen name Mara Cahan working with Draw This In Your Style (DTIYS) opportunities. I highly recommend them if you're and artist and get stuck or if you want to see amazing creativity!

Now in 2021, I am working on background and landscapes to improve me overall design. I'm painting with acrylics more than digital. Next is combining my graphite technique with my doodIes and painting like with my Anubis piece below! I have finally launched my website and am slowly improving each aspect of it. Social media and putting myself out there has never been comfortable but it's getting easier as I learn and refine my direction. I am also working into craft fairs and setting up booths where I can. Why do I choose to continue to create? I don't feel it's a choice. I have tried quitting and I have always felt this driven need to make things, make music, and make good food. I want to share these skills and knowledge with others.

I keep redoing this piece periodically to help show my progress and because I love the concept. The first is my original concept. The middle is with what I learned in college. The third isn't finished at the time of posting this but a good reference for the differences.

Here's another expanded on painting using a sketch I did in Highschool.

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