Art as a Business?
A friend of mine had loaned me his Canon Rebel camera for about six months last year. This gracious act of kindness and seeing a possibility of “something” in me opened up my world to combining the arts of photography and storytelling. Upon finally returning his camera to him in November, I went through a process of withdrawal and recreating/redefining that part of me which previously held this camera.
This process took me into questioning who I am as an artist and playing with questions like “Do I do art for money and try to make a living from it or do I do art for the love of it?” and “How do I remain true to my art and myself if I pursue art as a business?”
Lessons from a Kids’ Camp
Last month, Sifu Martin Ferreira held his spring Kids’ Self-Reliance Camp in San Diego, CA which I was fortunate enough to work at. One of the many lessons he teaches the kids is financial independence. Using the games Monopoly (with the intention of bankrupting the bank so as to not have a dependence on it) and Cash Flow Kids (where you set yourself up to become financially independent enough to quit your routine Mon-Fri 8-5 job), he taught the kids, along with this big kid, how to make sound financial decisions by creating partnerships with each other, growing our communities, and creating opportunities for ourselves and taking advantage of opportunities when they appeared.
I was so inspired after a couple of days working at my friend’s camp and learning these valuable lessons alongside the kids that I decided to finally buy my own Canon camera! Though I am at the middle stage of my life, it is most certainly not too late for me to start my journey of financial and personal independence. The journey into doing art as a business begins…
A couple of weeks after my investment into myself, I learned about the death of two young friends’ step-dad who had died suddenly at a young age. This loss naturally touched them greatly and will effect them throughout their lives.
I was scheduled to take photos of their horse show during that weekend when they decided they didn’t want to do it anymore because they were really sad. However, their dad talked to them about how much time, effort, and energy their step-dad invested into them and their training, and how much joy they all had from it. He explained that their step-dad would want them to try their best, face their fears, and enjoy their lives. He taught them to use their memories with him to create a great experience for themselves. And that is exactly what they did!
The photos I took of their event showed love for their sport and their animals, their inner strength and determination, and their support and love for each other. This experience of being able to draw strength from a difficult situation and still make life’s moments great while honoring a loved one is something which will be part of a strong foundation for their future.
On the next day, I had the honor of phographing their step-dad’s memorial service. The photographs I took were shared by two sides of the continent and were received with much love, joy, and gratitude.
Stories in Photos
That weekend’s photo shoots showed me what photography could be: a mode of sharing life’s varied and diverse experiences and emotions; a tool for learning, healing, growth, and joy; and a way of showing others’ moments experienced as well as moments they might have missed. While we all have emotions from experiences we keep near our hearts, having a photo to point to helps us to remember better those important lessons and moments we may forget.
My First Business Ad
So I moved forward this week by creating and posting my first business ad on Craigslist. After much thought these several months on how much to charge for my services and what kind of photography services to offer, I decided on this:
“I am an artist who specializes in capturing the beauty of life with her camera; be it people, animals, places, things, or events. I do not use photo-enhancing tools, just my Canon EOS Rebel. If I don’t capture the essence of the moment, my fee will only be gas money, a meal, and hopefully a few laughs together. If you are satisfied with my work, then we can discuss a fair fee or a trade for my services.
You may find some of my work on my community blog at https://informinspirechange.wordpress.com/ which is used to tell stories of life and its many lessons to be learned.
Let’s share a few moments and tell your stories together.”
Sifu Ferreira advised me last year that to have a business in something based on your person (be it art, physical/emotional/spiritual well-being, self-reliance skills, etc.) might take a long time. It requires continuous crafting of one’s skills, being honest and open with yourself and others, and creating/expanding your community. An added bonus for me with that last piece has been realizing that the community we develop and serve actually gives us purpose in life. And THAT is what drives me, my business, and my many adventures in life – my own personal growth and freedom, and service to others 🙂
That being said, I share with you below the photographs I chose to use for my first ad and a quick snippet of each one. Let’s walk on this journey of improving our lives and communities together. Please enjoy 🙂
A Time Stood Still
California historic vehicle #9748; a fire truck displayed by the side of a mountain road in Jamul.
A Woman’s Strength
With will, determination, and guidance from a knowledgeable coach, a woman can create a body for herself that serves her chosen physical functions.
A Young Man’s Art
A combination of developed physical strength and ability, creativity, and enough gumption to pursue his heart’s desire!
Taken at a 30-year high school reunion, this is a great reminder to play and be a child at heart.
Beauty in Death
This sunflower reminds us that death is part of the beautiful process of life and that we don’t stop “being” with the event of death. Much like this flower and its seeds and body, we continue being part of everything. (used in this blog: https://informinspirechange.wordpress.com/2014/10/16/the-beauty-of-death/)
A 1940 Lincoln Continental at the 7th Annual Hot Rod and Chili Cook-off in Jamul, Ca. Quiet honestly, I was bored to tears at taking photos of old cars. I tried to find the artistic angles of each one I took, but it really didn’t spark any flames in my heart. That is, until it was time for them to leave and their engines were revved! V-room, v-room. Hubba, hubba!! What girl doesn’t like a good vibration? 😉
This was taken at a photo shoot of my martial arts school’s Halloween party. Part of White Dragon School of East County’s goal is helping to strengthen our community. This party was held to bring the people together and share a few hours of personal connection, teach awareness, safety, and self-defense, and give kids and adults alike an opportunity for fun and creative expression.
Comfort of Body
This is a photo for an article I’m doing on “eating our sunscreen” which informs about foods we can consume to provide us with natural protection from the damaging effects of UV rays. This was such an important photo shoot for me. The object of my art here, my first of a nude person, was so comfortable being in her own skin. I took her inner strength and stored some away for myself 🙂
What young girl from my generation didn’t grow up reading romance novels of being taken ever so romantically and powerfully by the sexy male figure of the story? This scene takes me back to those stories. Fortunately, I was also fond of reading Nancy Drew, the Hardy Boys, and Sherlock Holmes!
Flowers by Des
As part of growing our community and helping others, I did a photo shoot for a friend of mine who creates beautiful wedding flowers.
Focus and Determination!
One of my two young friends who recently lost her step-dad who used his memory to inspire herself to do well at her horse show only days after his passing.
Immersed in Nature
This lovely lady is at home working with the earth.
A photo of a photo I took of my friend when we explore a nude beach on 4th of July. Our version of personal freedom written about on this blog:
The Joy of Family
This beautifully young child and his brother lost their mom last year. He is fortunate to have be part of a wonderful community of family and friends who will ensure they remain loved and supported through their development.
Life and Death at the Farm
The first babies from Mae. Beautiful creatures who unfortunately only lasted a few days due to predators. But their lives were not a waste because they fed another. Also, because of the pregnancy, Mae is now in full-blown goat milk production and provides delicious nutrition and sustenance to others. The lessons learned from the deaths have also been applied to the next baby who was kept in a more-secure location until it grew big enough to watch out for itself and not be seen as a delicious morsel to a predator.
Fun at Work
I am fortunate to work at a company who strives for a work/life balance. One of our endeavors is creating an Art-at-Work program. Stay tuned…
My dear friends who recently lost their step-dad and used the joys of their memories together to inspire them to do well at their horse show. The younger one had stepped up to the next level in jumps. Her sister checked in to make sure she didn’t miss it and is there to hold the gate for her when she finished.
Sunflowers at Sunset
My community garden has provided countless opportunities for learning and growth, as well as meditation, love, inspiration, and healing.
Trust and Love
A tender connection shared between a father and his daughter.