Have you ever looked back and wondered how everything happened so fast? In those moments I wish that I kept a journal to have documented every crack, window and door that has opened ever since I jumped off of that cliff. I have been so busy that even on my "slow" days I am still busy with my next project. I log onto my social media sometimes just to catch up with my progression because I forget to take pictures on occasion.
When an opportunity passes you by and you don't realize it until much later when it can't be revisited, it is not a good feeling. When I decided to become a full time artist it was a very spiritual decision, a total leap of faith because there was no plan. Everyday opportunities to do what I love for a living were passing me by and I knew that if I just did it, just believed in myself and had faith in my journey opportunities would continue to come and be mine for the taking.
It is impossible at this point to list them all but here is a synopsis of the opportunities that have knocked and I answered:
January, 2015 I took two weeks off of everything to decompress from the job that I had just resigned from and prepare for the journey of a lifetime (It was the first time that I took an actual vacation for myself.)
February, 2015 I applied to create art in two different public art projects (I had never created public art before). The maximum number of designs per project was four, I submitted the max for both in hopes that at least one would get selected for each. Two were selected for both.
March, 2015 I traveled to New Orleans, LA to attend "La Fete" which is an annual body paint convention where body painters unite to teach and learn from one another. I met a lot of other people who are as passionate about body paint as I am. They became an addition to my already growing body paint family. While at LaFete I received a call from one of the public art projects I applied for and found out not one but two of my designs had been chosen. When I got back home from LA I found out the same for the other project I had applied for.
April, 2015 I spent the entire month between Stratford and Stamford completing the four public art projects I was chosen for in March. I successfully completed all four by the deadline.
May, 2015 I was asked to lead my very first sip & paint for a fundraiser benefit for Power of Five which is a non profit of five ladies that raises money for scholarships for local high school kids in Bridgeport, CT.
June, 2015 I hosted my very first sip & paint event along with my studio partner, Janelle Gordon in our studio at the American Fabrics building in Bridgeport, CT.
July, 2015 I participated as a featured artist for the second time in New York City Body Painting Day hosted by Andy Golub. My model was an amazing young lady by the name of Grace. I painted a portrait of John Lennon backed by vibrant colors provided by sponsors, Kryolan. The image still circulates as one of the highlighted images from the event.
August, 2015 I continued to host Sip & Paint events privately and in studio. I was approached by a good friend who asked me if I might be interested in teaching art in an after school enrichment program in Bridgeport. A few weeks later, I was approached by another friend who wanted me to teach art in her after school enrichment program in New Haven. I sad yes and started teaching in both programs within two weeks of each other.
September, 2015 my body art was featured in a two page spread of SkinMarkz Magazine which is a very popular online face and body art magazine.
October, 2015 I flew to Atlanta to attend Living Art America's 6th annual National Body Art Championships and to hang out with some of my painty peeps. I wanted to see what competition was like because I was trying to decide if it was something I wanted to do. I was actually handed the opportunity to assist a painter in the emerging category thanks to my friend Joy Monroe.
A couple of weeks after the competition I took a much needed break and flew to Barbados to visit my good friend Markiesha. I spent a total of eight days exploring the island, meeting people, eating, drinking and being merry. I also had the opportunity to interview on a popular news program called "Good Mornin' Barbados". This opened up the opportunity for me to share more about body art and what I do on an international level.
November, 2015 I was introduced to the CEO of a company that is doing amazing things to build Bridgeport back up and end homelessness in CT
December, 2015 I was hired for my first gig with this organization and I've continued to work with them throughout 2016 creating murals and other community projects.
There is a lot that has happened in between all of the above and throughout 2016 I've continued to grow as an artist and entrepreneur. I've met amazing people and built beautiful relationships and alliances that will continue to help me to grow.
Fast Forward to present day... I recently had a very cool opportunity. Most people who know me, know I'm about my business and will contribute much time and energy to see it's growth. I entered to compete into The North American Body Art Championships for the first time. I usually would not enter into a competition because I thought that competing might take away from my passion as a body painter. I couldn't have been more wrong and I am so glad that I answered that knock on the door telling me to go ahead and enter. It was an exhilarating experience that I will remember for the rest of my life. Being among some of the worlds top body painters was an honorable reminder that I worked really hard to get there. We placed in the top ten out of 26 which I felt very proud of, seeing that it was my first time ever competing.
After the competition selfie, I was exhausted but felt super good about what we had done
A pic of my model, Brian Cobb (right) and another competitors model (left) facing each other while we waited in line for judging
I know now after many different opportunities, there were times that I was so focused on what was in my line of sight that I never even heard the knock on the door. Opportunities are endless and each one would have probably taken me into a different direction in my life. I'm kind of glad I wasn't paying as much attention as I do now. When you hear it, you can choose to answer the door or let the opportunity knock. If you choose the ladder you could miss out but you could also be dodging a bullet. Either way I usually choose to answer and decide whether or not to walk through once I know what's on the other side. Yes it's risky but I believe it's worth it.