Be Shameless!


Lately I have been thinking about my Journey as an artist and how I arrived where I am now. When I think about everything that I have been apart of, or things that I have come across that may have inspired me or gave me a push to try harder and I add it all up, it all makes since how it has all helped me get to where I am today. Even though I am no where near where I want to be in my creative career I have come such a long way.

So let me give you a brief back story! I am an artist and entrepreneur at heart. I have alway been that way whether I acknowledged it or not. When I was in elementary school I created rings and bracelets out of tiny little beads and sold them to my classmates, their parents, my family and friends, and anyone who would be willing to buy my jewelry.  My summers as a child was spent in Greenwood/Hodges, SC and I would charge my Papu (my grandfather) to iron his shirts for work. A quarter a shirt! Yes I was hustling my Papu. All through my childhood years I was always drawing, crafting, writing, just being creative.

Fast forward to adulthood in 2009 I started a business with my best friend called Kayniq. Our vision was to create a t-shirt line and sale handmade jewelry and a bunch of other fun stuff. We had big dreams for Kayniq, like so big we ended up getting so overwhelmed that nothing got done, and life happened. So eventually I decided to try and figure out how to create my own brand and promote myself as an artist. Which was still very hard for me because I still didn't know exactly what I wanted to do.

I was sitting here trying to figure out what were some of the things that gave me a push in this direction and I remembered a few years ago I came across some videos by this woman Maya Washington who had decided to promote herself shamelessly for 365 days straight! Her journey stuck with me and really inspired me even if it didn't set in immediately. 

I looked to Andy Warhol, Frida Kahlo, Michael Jackson, Grace Jones, Shakespeare and of course Jesus. What did they do that I wasn’t. What I discovered was they were living “shamelessly”. Despite the critics they lived. Not embarrassed by who they were, what they looked like, what others thought, they “did them!” We are all blessed with gifts that were meant to be shared. “Sharing is caring”. “Give and you shall receive”. Simple and true. The greatest gift you can give is love. The greatest gift you can give is yourself. Share your love. Share your art. Share you.
— Maya Washington AKA Shameless Maya

She helped me realize that my creativity was my gift and gifts are supposed to make people happy but if you don't show people what you can do or what you have to offer how would they ever know. Here I am craving to do what I love and to be my own boss and I am constantly fighting to make it but I was keeping all my gifts to myself. And as someone who loved to create but was stuck in a job that didn't allow me to create this video really hit home for me.

Tired of being broke? Do you think money is evil? Do you think money will "taint" your artwork? Do you believe the thing you're passionate about can be a business? Do you value your work and/or services? Watch this video and see if you need to reassess your thoughts about you, your work, and money :) Shirt by ConArtistNYC.

Now even though I believed in everything this girl was saying, I didn't act on it at the time I didn't really have any direction on what I wanted and I was afraid that I wasn't good enough to really be successful. At this point in my life I didn't even see myself as an artist.  I felt wrong calling myself an artist because I have seen beautiful works of art and what I did just didn't seem to compare.  I was unaware of the things that I could do with the skills that I had.  While being stuck in a print shop and doing random graphic design projects, I finally realized that I didn't want to just do graphic design.  It didn't make me happy.  What made me happy was having total creative freedom to create what I wanted, and being able to share it with people and if they excepted it or not was up to them.  

In my Happy 2015 blog post I talked about how my Surface Pattern Design journey started at the beginning of 2014 with me making the decision to put myself out there. When I made that decision I was reminded of Shameless Maya and how she shamelessly promoted herself.  Now at this point I was still afraid. I was afraid that no one would like my designs, I was afraid that my friends and family wouldn't support me, I was afraid that I would be annoying to so many people.  So I started out gradually and overtime I have become more confident. I stopped worrying about what other people would think of me and started creating and doing things that made me happy.  I still struggle with these fears and I have a long way to go to completely overcome them but I recently revisited Maya's YouTube Channel and was reminded in her "What is Fear?" video to not allow my fears and the negativity to cripple me and keep me from becoming successful and making my vision become a reality. So check out that video below and check out her 5 Tips Every Artist Must Know video. This girl is "Fire" and so inspirational!

Thanks for reading, and remember to be shameless! Just do what you love!

What is FEAR? And why are you scared? Over the course of my life and more specifically my year of Shamelessness I learned just how much "fear" or "anxiety" controls and dictates my/our actions, life all dat!

Here are 5 tips for all my artist boos! Artists are awesome and have so much to share with this lovely world. Take what you want from this and throw away the rest. I know these tips will help some people as they've helped me get over my ish and to just be an overall happier, more creative individual!