adulting

Going to such a huge university (and the #1 party school in the country at that time) and experiencing the new found freedom wasn't great on my study habits so within a year or two I realized that being a doctor was not going to be an option. I didn't really have any clear idea of what I would do now, since doctor was always my dream, so I randomly picked a business degree. I remembered having enjoyed Economics in high school so I decided to go with that. I worked as a bartender throughout college and we will just say I enjoyed the social scene.

In 2010 after doing a victory lap (5 years of college) I graduated with my Bachelors in Economics. I learned so much practical knowledge with this degree (and NO shortage of calculus and statistics) but I was not really sure what I was going to do next. Do you become an Economist? No idea.

I decided to move back to my parents house in the Atlanta suburbs to start looking for a job. It just seemed like the logical thing to do. They encouraged me to move home and save money to buy a house and although I was hesitant after being on my own for the last 5 years it was one of the best decisions I have ever made. Still having no idea what kind of career I should head toward I just randomly started applying for jobs, mostly in banking.

The economy was tanked, and I was either too inexperienced (apparently knowing how to mix a ton of drinks and sling shots isn't transferable to the corporate world) or too overqualified for jobs that didn't require a degree. My mom started sending me jobs she thought I should apply for. Let me just say that they were OUT there. I mean, they were great jobs, but NOTHING in my field. I vividly remember one day being like "Mom, stop sending me these crazy jobs, this is for an entry level Software Engineer position, I have an Econ degree and know NOTHING about computers." She responded "Who cares, the worst they can tell you is no and you get the experience of an interview."

TOUCHE MOM.

I applied for said Software Engineer position, and shockingly, within a few days I was called for an interview. I knew I wasn't going to get the job but I didn't care. I wasn't afraid of rejection as long as I put forth my best effort. My interview essentially became me persuading (begging?) the owner of the company to hire me. I could tell he liked me as a person and I did my best to let him know that I could pick up whatever it was that he wanted me to do. Thank God he didn't ask me anything technical and I was very honest about "knowing nothing about technology."

By the grace of God, I received an offer letter about a week later. I truly couldn't believe it and I was shocked that this man was going to pay me and give me health benefits for something I knew nothing about. I don't think I could sign that offer acceptance fast enough. I honestly didn't even care how much it paid - I would have worked for $2,000 a year at that point. It was my in to the corporate world. Now all I had to do was to stay good on my word and prove myself to this poor guy I had convinced to hire me.

The training was rigorous, I had to pass a Software certification after 4 weeks of training. Basically nothing made sense but I'm a decent test taker and was one of the first people in my training class to get the certification. At this point I knew that I would figure it out and get by. I also knew that I probably wasn't going to stay in this field for more than a few years but I'd let the economy do it's thing and try again another time. Just shy of 2 years from graduating, I was able to purchase my first home in Buckhead. All on my own. The hard work had paid off.

8 years, 5 additional technical/engineering certifications and many big clients later, I never switched careers. Who knew that my future would be built on this. I absolutely LOVE what I do. I've been part of teams that have transformed systems within huge organizations and I take a lot of pride in what I do. I owe EVERYTHING to the man who made this possible, for taking a chance on me, for believing in me. He will never know the way he has touched my life and I will never be able to repay him for paving my future (and some really wonderful, patient mentors).

Why do I write all about this, you may ask.

I whole-heartedly believe that my adult life has been transformed due to this one opportunity. Taking this one chance. Submitting this one job application. Not being afraid to hear no.

This is the reason why I have been able to pursue art on the side. I honestly don't care if you like my work or not. If it brings a smile to ONE person's face, then I've done what I set out to do. I do not think that I will ever be able to quit my job or be in top galleries, but I'm truly doing what I love in all aspects of my career, and for that, I am grateful.

I encourage you to take chances. To do something you don't think you can do. To face rejection and not give a shit. I promise you that it won't be in vain and one day you will understand why you took the chance to begin with.

 

childhood

I've noticed more and more with comments on Instagram, that many of you do not know much about me past the work that I have created. I honestly never thought it to be that interesting, but since there has been a theme of it, I thought I would take some time to let you into who I am and how this all began.

I guess we will just take it all the way back...

I was born in Binghamton, New York, a relatively small upstate rolling mountain city of around 40,000 people. Both of my parents grew up here, and I was their first born. The city is heavily rooted with Eastern European immigrants. My paternal grandmother was 100% Polish and my paternal grandfather, 100% Slovak, both of their parents coming thru Ellis Island in the early 1900’s. My mom's side has a lot of different origins. My uncle spent a lot of time doing our ancestry on that side and come to find out we have descendants from the Mayflower and even a great grandmother several times removed just so happened to be a Montauk Princess and the real life Pocahontas, marrying the first white man in the New World (a Dutchman).

Shortly after my sister was born, we moved across the street from my paternal grandma. Having her so close was amazing. She was such an amazing woman and had so many talents. She was a great cook and taught me how to make authentic Polish food, she could bake, she made beautiful needlepoints and gorgeous hand quilted quilts. Pretty much anything she tried, she excelled at.  She also made my sister and I the most amazing dresses any little girl would swoon over and made us any strange costume request we could think of, my personal favorite was when I wanted to be a ballerina pig and she found a way to make sure I was the best looking ballerina pig there ever was. I am so lucky to have spent so much of my childhood with her so close. She passed away last year at 92 years old and although it still is devastating, there are so many fond memories that I can look back on and I believe my strong passion to create can be attributed partially to her.

My mom is also a jack of all trades for anything craft related. I feel like my childhood was full of creativity and the outdoors, playing in the snow and climbing trees. My mother is a nurse and my dad is a consultant, both of them instilled the value of hard work to my sister and I. We watched them both grow in their careers and never complain about working hard, which is something I really admire and something that has made me the person that I am. I really hit the parent jackpot and couldn’t say enough good things about those two. Their kindness, patience and encouragement was so important in my development into adulthood. I was taught the importance of independence and told to never have to rely on someone to support me. That has maybe stuck too hard since I’ve been so career focused since graduating college that I’m 30 and single, lol! But God has perfect timing, and I don’t try and ever tempt fate.

My mom worked in the ER when we were really young and I always loved hearing the stories of her day after she got home. Most people cringe at these kind of stories but I always thought it was so cool. She made me want to be a doctor and be able to see all the things she did and help others. My dad was a consultant, but the best part worked from home almost my whole childhood. This was good and bad. It was great because I don't know many people who were lucky enough to have this, but it also meant I couldn't ever really get away with anything since there was always parental supervision (which hind sight is probably a good thing).

I grew up going to Catholic school and the summer before 6th grade my parents announced that we were going to be moving to Atlanta, which I though was a joke. I honestly didn't even know where Georgia was on a map. Moving was hard, and I remember finally getting to Atlanta and just crying and crying because I couldn't understand what anyone was saying and asked my mom why we would move somewhere that people don't speak English. Looking back and now having a slight southern draw, I find this very funny.

In the Atlanta, I excelled at school and soccer and ended up really loving the move. Turns out Georgia isn't just full of cows and cotton fields like I had imagined and the "language barriers" became doable quickly. I think moving opened a lot of doors and opportunities  I wouldn't have had otherwise and it also is a much more diverse city. I graduated high school in 2005 and got into my top choice college the University of Georgia (go dawgs) to pursue my dream of becoming a doctor. So off to Athens, Georgia I went...

To be continued...

 

continuous dawn

continuous

[kuh n-tin-yoo-uh s] 

adjective

1. uninterrupted in time; without cessation:

continuous coughing during the concert.

2. being in immediate connection or spatial relationship:

a continuous series of blasts; a continuous row of warehouses.

dawn

[dawn] 

noun

1. the first appearance of daylight in the morning:

Dawn broke over the valley.

2. the beginning or rise of anything; advent:

the dawn of civilization.

 

sometimes things don't get created in a linear and logical way that you often assume. this is the case with this upcoming series that will be released 10/22. i started working on the collection weeks ago and knew exactly what i was doing with it, and where i was heading, but i had no words for what it was that i was creating or where i was taking it.

i tried to not dwell on it and just continued down the path i was on.  over and over i told myself that the words would follow eventually, and that is exactly what happened.

one early morning on a flight to newark, a question i've struggled with hit me once again.

"what is your signature as an artist?"

i have been on this journey for just about a year and i still don't think that i have a "style" - it's bothered me. a lot. i see so many artists that when you look at their work, you can tell it's theirs. there is some signature element, colors, strokes, something that they can call their own. i have none. i thought by this point i would have something of my own. a style i preferred, a mark, color palette, and i just simply do not. i try and give myself a little slack since this is not my fulltime job, but to me it feels like failure.

instead of seeing it as a this, it dawned on me that what i've been doing is a constant learning process and evolution and that it's ok that i haven't found my "it" yet.

the collection name "continuous dawn" embodies the true purpose. each day i create is a new chance for me to try something new. it's a constant process of unpredictable experiments and torn up pages that didn't go as planned. the process of growth is something with a deeper significance that what i have given it credit for. looking at things with a new perspective, i feel grateful for this ever-changing vulnerability.

as a perfectionist in most aspects of life, this is the one activity i think i've learned to let go control of. in my day to day life i am a planner, i thrive on a schedule and predictability. when i get home from work and create, the reason it has been so peaceful and calming to me is that i have no expectations and no plans when i sit down to paint. things just happen. i don't go into a piece knowing what i want it to become. it just becomes.

almost a year ago when i started my instagram, i created it just to kind of have a personal documentation of my growth. i had zero expectations or inclination that anyone would care or follow my page and not in a million years did i think someone would purchase my work or show it. i am so grateful for what it has evolved into. in and of itself this is also a continuous dawn, never knowing what people will like, not knowing what connections will be made, and not knowing the next steps i will take.

and that's ok.

the evolution of it all is what makes it special. i hope that my continuous dawn sticks around for a long time and that i continue to learn and transform as both a person and an artist