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Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Courage To Fly

The Question:

Have You Ever Taken A Risk On Yourself? 
Pushed Off The Branch And Flew Into Uncharted Territory
With Nothing But Inspiration Fueling You???

The Answer:


I would have to say that my first leap into the unknown with nothing but inspiration fueling me was my decision to apply to and
get into one of the best art schools in Canada, The Ontario College of Art & Design. 
With very little support and at the young age of 17, I packed up my nervous dream-filled self,
along with my awesome high school sweetheart and moved from a small town of only 50,000
to a big city 400 km away with a population of over 2 million.
I got myself into a school that out of thousands of applicants accepted less than 500 new students a year.
I definitely took in all the negativity everyone was feeding me about
my poor choice to pursue art as career. 
But at the same time I didn't care what anyone thought because I knew I would never really be happy
unless I gave it a real try, and the beginning of giving it a real try, in my opinion, at the time,
was to attend a top notch art school
(which I kicked butt in & graduated top of my class with honors associate standing, whoot whoot). 

I just knew, even at that young age, that on some level,
I was destined to be a visual communicator.
It would have been so much easier to choose a 'normal' path & study something 'normal' but than again
I've never been about taking the 'normal' route and I don't think I ever will be...
it's just part of the magic that makes me, me.

When I look back at those scary 5 years, and all the new things I did and saw such as;
The nerve racking times navigating the transit and streets of a city I always felt was way to huge for me,
(part of that time was during a period when psychos were pushing innocent by-standers onto subway train tracks!), going to my first rave, meeting and working day in and day out alongside some very inspiring fellow artists from around the world (cue the time I met my best friend, Judit from Hungry),
I was taking midnight classes in the core of downtown, saw a couple stabbings!!!
Somehow managed to swing (but barely, ha ha) rent, food, tokens AND art supplies, yikes!
Even had a swat team with full on gear and guns raid our backyard & knock down our fence!!! ha ha.
There were so so many brave, awesome and shocking 'firsts'.
I can truly, fondly and proudly think back on all of it,
on all those nerve-tattering days and realize that, that was me,
it was little teeny moi, who navigated this brand new life of
art school and the big city, wow
and I survived it all quite well...
which lead me to believe that if I can do that....well I can do just about anything. 

So, though not everything has turned out as planned or as expected by any means,
I have to say that my first leap into the unknown with nothing but inspiration fueling me,
is a leap I'd take again in a second.
The whole experience of that first leap has lead me to a heart-full of strength
that I proudly carry along in my suitcase of 'You-Can-do's'.

I've been an artist and have made the making of art a big priority in my life for a long time now. 
But I took my 2nd BIG leap of faith into creativity in 2003
when I decided to resign from my beloved job as gallery coordinator to pursue my artwork full-time. 
It was a huge decision for me. 
And again I faced so many people giving me the opposite of support!
(This seems to be an on-going thread in my artistic journey unfortunately!)
I heard it all, including one pal telling me I was 'crazy & stupid' to willingly give up
one of the only paying arts jobs in North Bay! 
But I was ready...I felt the stirrings of 'It's time to move on from this'
and after much coaxing and support from my honey bun, (YOU ROCK BABE)
I took the leap again... 
A couple years followed which consisted of finding my own creative voice, enjoying some very positive creative pursuits, honing my techniques, tending to my portfolio, adding to my artistic repertoire
& primarily building creative courage

Shortly after this period came another massive leap when I actually registered
& started my own small creative indie business called 'Bijou's Whimsy'.
(The story of Bijou's Whimsy and it's sole-proprietoress, your truly,
is of course as you know, still in the making)

I found myself taking another giant leap in 2008
when I finally started getting proactive with showing my work to wider audiences online. 
Turns out the Internet really isn't as scary of a place as I thought
but instead is full of amazing worldwide possibilities and friendships.
It was my leap into the Internet that's been allowing my dreams and creative voice to merge and align with one another more wholly.
I finally started to believe in the beauty of my own dreams.
I was suddenly seeing so many others just like me, living the dream,
making art and a creative life a full time gig. 
I started to feel that I deserved to live my dream too, if so many others can & were, why couldn't I.
Starting a blog was scary, espeacially since I've always been a fairly private person.
 When I started my blog, I still wasn't 100% sure what exactly a blog was or was suppose to be or do,
but I jumped in anyways trusting that I'd figure it out as I went along.
I could have went on only making work for my own eyes
but I again had that feeling of 'there is more'.  
I knew I had to start searching and finding my own niche, audience & online tribe,
despite how overwhelming the amount of talent online can be.
No matter the immense & constant work it takes to continually 'stand out' and 'keep peoples attention'

It was another leap to open my first online shop...
to actually believe I had something good enough that people would spend their hard earned money on. 
To even decide to spend 20 cents to list an item, well who did I think I was?....
...someone with talent, a unique voice and a special perspective to offer that's who, ha ha.

But really pretty much every one of us artists are practicing courage
and taking a leap into the unknown aren't we? 
We typically do not conform to 'normal society'.
  We are full of our own strong visions
and we do often choose the path less travelled...all because our artistic passions beckon us.
We leap bravely onto the blank canvas or whatever the medium and substrate of our choosing may be. 
We willingly & openly fill the pieces we are making with ourselves,
we lay out our often sensitive selves and hearts for all to see and judge.
And because our passions are so strong, we can survive the harshest of critics and critiques.
We let people see into our souls through our art and creations,
we bravely show and share our stories, for often nothing else but for the pursuit of a beautiful connection.

All of this is really one big GIANT LEAP into the unknown with nothing but INSPIRATION FUELING US. 

We tirelessly and constantly leap and push past ALL the
niggling fears and doubts that chatter silly things at us, such as....
'you can't paint', 'you'll never succeed at this', 'who do you think you are, that your stories count, that people want to see them', 'aren't you wasting your time', 'your not getting anywhere with this', 'do you really think you deserve more', 'do you really have what it takes to make it', 'you've been at this for so long, isn't it time to give up', 'there are so many doing this, there's no more room for you', 'what good is this art doing for the world at large'...and so on...

To live, survive and pursue the artist's life, is a brave path
(albeit, yes often too a very lucky and blissful one indeed) 
and takes it's very own kind of magic and strength 
to continually strive for more, to lean towards the next project and push on towards something bigger.
To willingly add our own voices and styles to the huge milieu of already established and
successful artists is a daily triumph of it's very own sort....Don't you think?

Every single time we create, we take that leap...small or big, it doesn't matter, it's a leap none the less.
So I say 'cheers to us'...
'cheers to all the brave artists out there' 
'cheers to our constantly risking brave
leaping creative hearts'....

I know one thing for sure, and that is that making images and pictures and living a creative life
will be a priority for me whether I make zero dollars with it or millions....
Being an artist and sharing my artistic talents with the world is in it's own sense
 just as necessary to me as breathing. 
Creativity makes up part of the 
rhythm of my heartbeat....
and I know I will ALWAYS ALWAYS find the courage to LEAP and to

How about you???

So there you have it, a tiny bit of my a nutshell...ha ha.

Thanks so much for your time & for listening to my story.
Big thanks as well to Stephey Baker from Marked By The Muse for organizing this amazing blog hop
& thanks also to HandMade Spark for sponsoring the hop.

XO Mandy Saile of Bijou's Whimsy XO

p.s.  Today & This Post is the PERFECT spot for me to share one of my all time FAVOURITE songs...
one I listen to & blast in the studio atleast once a day. Love Love Love it. 


kelly@thebluemuse said...

What a lovely, heartfelt post. I am so glad that your bravery won out, your artwork is beautiful and special.
yes, "cheers to all the brave artists out there," and cheers to you, for this.

Alexis Yael said...

YES!!!! Loved this, it rings so very true for me as well, having always gone against the grain of "normal" society.

deb did it said...

Oh Mandy, this story is fantastic and beautiful and inspiring! ~flap flapping right here with you~~

Heather said...

Great post! I really loved the line that Creativity makes up part of the rhythm of your heartbeat.. love it! I feel the same way! And visual communicator i love the way that is phrased! I will have to use that! Sounds like you are a brave, creative soul!

Brandi said...

This is beautiful. I love reading about tales of courage, and you're absolutely right - every artist leaps when they create!

stephey baker : Marked By The Muse™ said...

Mandy, when reading, "it's just part of the magic that makes me, me" my heart leapt with joy, my two favorite things (magic + joy). This is an amazing post! I resonate with it so much it's challenging to put it into words. Greatness does that to me, creates stillness, along with presence, beauty and the Muses themselves (which of coarse is just a fancy-pants way to say Angels) all of which is right here in your post. To me, Greatness inspires others to be more of who they are and presence is necessary to witness the beauty in each being, don't forget bunny and all. When reading parts of your story, I could have been reading pages from mine. Especially the parts of moving to a large city, boston for art school w/out an abundance of support and witnessing such violence. wow. can relate to that big time. Loved the way you wrote about being an Artist as well, that "Creativity makes up part of the
rhythm of my heartbeat...." oh yeah! Thank you for adding your insight + wisdom to our blog hop. :) so looking forward to visiting again and again! xox ~stephey

Mandy Saile of Bijou's Whimsy said...

Thanks so much for popping by and reading my post everyone....I was a little nervous sharing it and writing it but am so glad I did.

Stephy, I am so glad you popped by and thanks for your awesome glad there's connection:D awesome:D

Have a wonderful day ladies.

XXOO Mandy.

Lisa said...

Cheers to you! Sad to hear you had so little support, but you have the most amazing significant other who supports you every step of the way... not everyone is so lucky!

Congratulations on all your triumphs :)

jacqueline said...

Dearest sweeet mandy, it's wonderful to get back in the swing of things on blogland! I am loving your very heartfelt and so inspiring post! You are my inspiration sweet mandy! Thanks so much for sharing your story with us. Have a lovely merry happy day and love to you!

Mandy Saile of Bijou's Whimsy said...

Thanks so much Lisa...I can always count on your awesome blog comments (and emails:D) to lift my day.

Jacqueline, sweetie-pie your one of my inspirations:D

XO to you both lovely pals XO.

Elizabeth said...

Cheers to tou Mandy and all the brave artists taking a leap of faith everyday! Thank for sharing this amazing post! You are one of the first blogs I followed when I started blogging a year ago! Bravo!!!


Snap said...

Mandy ... wonderful, wonderful post.

Wanted to let you know I finally thanked you on my blog for my Little Bird ... he makes me smile. Thanks again!

TLN said...

Great post - I enjoyed reading about your leap and the pictures (and art) are fab. :) Thanks for sharing! ~ Laura

sonyamacdesigns said...

Cheers to YA and congratulations on all that yoU have done in this one creative life of your ... you are most def. a visual communicator ... Creativity makes up part of the rhythm of my heartbeat .... beautifully put! said...

Wonderful, wonderful story! Thank you for sharing, you are amazing... your courage to fly is incredible.

Natascha said...

I loved reading your story. Very inspirational. I envy you doing what you want. Although I do have the luxury of (knock on wood) a retirement one day, Heath issuance and a 401k. I really do not love my work. I try to remember my work enables me to pay for what I love. LOL Good for you for following your dreams. That is what makes life worthwhile!

Leaves and Feathers said...

Beautiful, I love your story, and all of your "leaps"! xo

Judit Gueth said...

What a beautiful post! I'm so glad you took that leap and applied to art college! Otherwise I would have never met you! I'm so so glad I did. :-)