We are all dancing on a tightrope

As a freelancer with an arts background, what did I do for a living? I have designed logos, worked at startups, worked at a high volume print shop downtown, worked with creative directors, restaurant and club owners, interior designers, event managers, and small business owners. I’ve painted on ceramics for minimum wage and was an occasional Peachy’s Puffs cigarette girl.  I’ve worked on vlogs, music videos,  independent films, social media and have designed several websites and advertising materials. In art school I worked in Student Services doing administrative tasks and sorting the mail. When I graduated from art school, everything went digital. I had to teach myself the tools. I learned a lot from working with a graphic artist at a print shop in the financial district. It is difficult to survive as an artist in San Francisco. Over the years, rents have skyrocketed and many artists were evicted. Freelancing was not enough to get by, and I had to pay my student loans. I spent several years moving around doing odd jobs and trying to find a place to live and work. I did unrelated jobs in bars and retail. You can learn a lot about starting your own business by working for other small businesses in any capacity.  I finally found work in the environmental industry, and it was a relief to have a steady paycheck and health insurance. I have been working for over a decade doing that. My student loans were finally paid off. We are all dancing on a tightrope! As long as I can incorporate my passion somewhere into my life, then it feels right. I’ve been drawing since I was a little girl. I’ve invested so much of my time and money into my art education, it only makes sense to keep going.