Tuesday, September 21, 2010

It All Starts Here

Edit: I've changed my blog appearance, thought I'd try something new. Sometimes simpler is better. I still like my hibiscus (it was the background art), so here it is just in case someone else liked it also.

Changing one’s life, at any age, is always a bit anxiety-prone, starting over everything at age 60 has it’s own set of problems, as well as advantages. I’ll have to discover the advantages as I go along.

I’ve been an artist forever, and a graphic designer, art director, illustrator for over 30 years. I’ve been fortunate that I’ve been able to work doing what I love. I not only smoothly transitioned from the traditional drawing board to the computer, I was immersed in it. Work during the day, come home and read software manuals and books at night. I was very good at it. About 8-9 years ago, I took off for awhile. Since there had been a lull in what was a fairly successful career, I decided to take a side road. I’ve always enjoyed architectural work, since the pen & ink days, so when an opportunity presented itself to work in architectural illustration, I accepted it.

PART 1: I have come to the conclusion that since the recession thing isn’t about to change anytime soon, I need to find something that actually pays enough to live on - since my idea of living involves shopping. It’s been awhile since I’ve undertaken a campaign to market myself. We do not simply send in a resume and hope someone calls with an invitation to appear in person with a shiny leather portfolio case. It’s a whole new process and a little overwhelming. After many years in advertising (of one form or another), you’d think I would have some clue.
PART 2: Not so sure about living in Southern New Jersey right now. Time for some new visual inspiration.
PART 3: I need a social life. I’m so good at entertaining myself that I spend way too much time alone. But even most of us hermits need companionship and conversation.
While partly therapeutic, this blog is one aspect of my “rebuild my life project.” My son is an E-Commerce consultant. After talking over my plans and concerns with him, he kindly offered to point me in the right direction. His first suggestions were to get my name out there. I have to explain here, that I am an extremely private person. I only have a Facebook account, under a pseudo-name and my backup email account, so I can take advantage of certain Facebook-only sales at some of my favorite online shopping sites. Now I’m confronted with the first baby step; signing up on LinkedIn. It’s a networking site, and the first contact I entered was my son. With that came his contacts and friends. Interesting, although I’m not sure how I will use it. I don’t have much info besides my name (yes, my actual name) and what I do. I thought I’d figure the rest out later. Now my name is out there. Will a photo be far behind? My “consultant's” checklist of things I should do included a website, my portfolio online, revamping my resume and...why not write a blog? 

I used to be pretty good at writing a resume. I have somehow developed an aversion to even looking at it, and can’t seem to get it together. (Maybe I'm trying to tell myself something.) For years I managed to slide sideways into interviews through contacts. Although my current resume has landed a few freelance jobs, it’s not doing the job now. I have kind of taken the approach of making my age ambiguous. For about the last 20 years, I have been the oldest person everywhere I’ve worked. Most design studios are filled with 20 or 30-somethings, which is fine with me. Still trying to figure out where all the 50-60 year old designers go.

The more I thought about my age-minimizing resume dilemma, my total shyness about my name, photo or anything personal out there in internet space; the more I realized maybe it is time to change the whole approach. Why not just put it all out there? So, I'm 60...but I'm still here. Not sure what's next. Who knows, I could end up on an island somewhere.

It’s simple really. It makes me happy. In addition to computer graphics, I paint watercolors and all kinds of things. I did show my paintings at galleries and art fairs a number of years ago. Now I do it for me, or occasionally for a gift; not often enough. I like painting flowers, beaches and shells in fantastic colors. There is a lot of artistic compromise producing for other people and clients. When you paint for yourself, you can do whatever you like. I’ll probably change it sometime, maybe I’ll do a rotating gallery of backgrounds.

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