The first time I told my parents I wanted to be a painter when I grew up was not the best conversation I’ve ever had with them. I was still in high school and had been looking at arts programs in university for a while. You know how people generally react when you tell them you want to be an artist or a musician? Well, that was their basic reaction. They told me that painting could not last for me as a career and that it would be almost impossible for me to make a living as an artist. And obviously, as their rebellious teen, I decided I was going to prove them wrong. I did well in school, but during almost all my spare time, I would paint for people. I’d paint our high school walls and rooms, I’d paint our neighbours garages, I’d paint in my room and anywhere I could put down an easel. Eventually, it was time for university, and I got into an arts and business program. This furthered my education in art history while at the same time, I could still enjoy painting every day. During my summers, I would intern at the local art studio, again painting in my spare time and being commissioned for specific pieces. I would display my art at festivals and in the art studio I interned at whenever the gallery owner had room. I would also ask professional painters in Toronto if they ever had work for me to do. Basically, I spent all my spare time looking for work and whenever I wasn’t doing that, I would be creating art.
This continued on for some time until after graduation. Right after graduation was a tough phase for me. I realized that, yes, my parents were correct in saying that finding a job in art is close to impossible. However, it wasn’t purely impossible. From my professors, I gained networks of talented artists, curators, and gallery owners, as well as other people who had careers in painting. Finally, I found Painters in the Toronto region who were willing to let me work for them. I would paint houses for work, and I would paint for myself afterwards. I proved my parents wrong and now make a great living making art.