Tag Archives: emerging artist

Searching for the Opportunity

These days I am searching for the right opportunity, the next step in my career as an artist, a move up the ladder to not just creating art on the side while trying to make a living doing something else, but finding a way to combine the two: art and work. Work and life.

The challenge is, it’s easier said than done. I am seeking out the opportunities, and I have a list of things I’m working on applying for. But the prospect of whether any of these opportunities will follow through is still up in the air. When will I get that one BIG SHOT? Or the many smaller shots that eventually lead to something bigger? And if I do get to that bigger place…. what does it look like? What exactly am I striving for, anyway?

When it comes down to it, to the bare essentials, there are four things that I need to make a living as an artist:





It’s really not a lot to ask. And of course there are more things than just the items listed above, such as friends, family, my sweet dog, a nearby park to run in, some space to do yoga, a fun place to go and see art/music/performance/film, inspiring collaborators, community, students who are eager to learn, and last but not least, OPPORTUNITIES. MORE OPPORTUNITIES. There are so many of them out there, but there are also so many people trying to get them. I’m trying so hard to get that next opportunity. The next thing, whatever it may be, that will lead me closer to my career path as an artist.

Image Sources:
Why Its OK to Fail at Kickstarter
Design Thinking: creativity in business and education
Temp Art Exhibit
There is Always Enough Time

Why Going Home Makes Me Wonder What the Hell I’m Doing With My Life


Going home for the holidays is always wonderful. I love seeing my family, lying around the house, eating Mom’s delicious food, enjoying the California sunshine and cuddling with the dogs. I also like passing by all the familiar places of my childhood: elementary school, the corner store, downtown, my first job, the old movie theater, etc. etc. These places bring back memories and remind me of what I am made of.

However, despite all the good things, going home can be challenging too. Back in my original element, I remember my original dreams and aspirations. I think about where I am currently, and start to feel depressed. Am I doing the right thing? Why haven’t a made it to the top yet? Why aren’t I living in a place with more opportunities? Why am I working a full-time job instead of pursuing my career as an artist? Why why why??

These questions started when as a family we watched the Kennedy Center Awards last night. Dustin Hoffman, Led Zeppelin, David Letterman… all these people whose careers reached the point of ultimate success. Who blazed through all the challenges and carved out their own unique niche in the world. I try to imagine what it would feel like to be honored in that way. Could I just give up at that point and be able to spend a week in my hometown without questioning whether I’ve made the right decisions in my life? Could I let myself off the hook once and for all and be happy with the path that I’ve taken? Don’t get me wrong- I am in many ways satisfied with what I’ve done and where I’ve been up until this point. However, I also feel there’s more to do, and more to overcome in order to reach my goals.

As a New Year’s resolution, I’m split. My goals in many ways are contradictory: follow my dream, and yet still manage to enjoy life along the way. Easier said than done, but no matter what I’m determined to be a successful artist and still have a life than is relaxing and enjoyable. The big question is….

Is that possible?????

Image Sources:

Home Art VS. “Art” Art

Moving can be a pain. From the packing to the cleaning to the moving to the hauling to the cleaning to the unpacking again, it is a HUGE task that should be done as un-often as possible. That said, my husband and I just moved. It was our first move in three years, which was a nice buffer time from the previous moves we had done while living in Indonesia from 2005-2009 (a total of 4 times in four years, including repainting the walls in every house!). Unfortunately this time around, buffer time = more stuff. In the three years of my grad school artist career, we managed to go from the 4 suitcases we brought with us from Indonesia to I don’t even know how many boxes, furniture items and random trinkets we managed to accumulate. Furniture/belongings + large art projects which include Red Blobs, suitcases of costumes, mansuits, masks, oodles of clamp lights, big hunks of clay and random goodness that perhaps someday will feed inspiration, end up being a major pain in the ass.

Luckily, we managed to survive!!! And now here we are, five blocks away from where we used to be, in a cute little house with a giant backyard and garage (which I referenced as the new art-studio-to-be in my last blog post.) Things are still half-packed, and there’s plenty of cleaning left to do, but finally we feel glad we have moved. Yay!!!

And that’s when the creative ideas start to flow.. The fun thing about moving to a new house is that with it comes lots of new artistic possibility. The artistic possibility is partly for projects that are non-home related, however in the beginning the bulk of them have to do with interior decoration, DIY yard projects, garage studio designs, and an overall ‘plumping up’ of the home environment. As I face this new creative excitement, there’s unfortunately still that grad school critique voice lingering in my head..

“Emilia…” it gurgles, “don’t spend too much time on your house! Don’t forget that you still have to be an Artist (with a capital “A”). Don’t forget about the artist residencies you still need to apply for, the exhibitions you need to submit to, the film project you need to finish, the CV you need to update, the website you need to complete, the new project ideas you need to think of and propose…. the grants you need to apply for, the artist statements you need to write, the creative work documentation you need to gather, the collaborations you need to nurture, the creative brainstorming you need to do!!!!” The list could go on and on. Choosing the path as an artist unfortunately comes with its own set of baggage, and no matter where you move to or how great your house looks, it’s still going to hover behind your back as the constant task that you “should” be doing. Being an artist is a full-time job. So.. how the hell am I supposed to decorate my house??!


An argument for Home Art: Home art is art that makes you feel good. It’s creativity that you get to enjoy every day, without feeling like you have to sell it or give it away to someone else. Home art is inspired, designed and created for you and you only. It can be argued that an inspiring home environment fuels the artist in you to be creative.

An argument against Home Art: Unfortunately, home art projects are endless. With the amount of space that our new backyard offers, and the other creative possibilities that exist within the house and garage, I could foresee myself spending the next year or longer just working on home projects and never, *sniff*, being a Real Artist (with a capital “R” and “A”) again.

Oh, the terror!!! Of never being an artist again. Every artist’s worst nightmare. The haunting question that comes back and back again, especially after graduating from art school and suddenly being out on your own in the world… “Will I EVER be an artist again???????!!”

Well, hopefully yes. And honestly, there’s nothing wrong with letting your creativity follow its own instinct. If I’m not feeling like making that stop motion film quite yet, or designing the next Buoj iz Jeb mansuit, then maybe artistically upgrading my home environment is the next best thing I can do. Certainly working on the art studio in the garage, even if it’s not considered making “real” art, will influence the art made later on. Likewise, the hangout area for the backyard, the filing cabinet for the bedroom, the space-saving design of the kitchen, the art on the walls of the bathroom… Who knows, really, where artistic inspiration comes from? Quoting Anais Nin: “”My ideas usually come not at my desk writing but in the midst of living.”

And so, without further ado, here are some of the Home Art projects I have in mind!!!! :

DIY Large Work Table:

DIY Jewelry Organizer:

Salvaged Door Coffee Table:

DIY Cork Pencil Holder and Organizer:

DIY Backyard Theater Screen:

And maybe someday.. a Backyard DIY Rollercoaster!!!!:

Image Sources:
4 Tips for Social Media Beginners
Monster Mouth
Three Property Rights Judgements
Reminiscence of Childhood
DIY Large Work Table
Roundup: 12 Swoon-Worthy DIY Jewelry Organizers
Make It: Salvaged Door Coffee Table
Make It: Easy DIY Cork Pencil Holder and Organizer
DIY backyard theater screen
Make a Backyard DIY Roller Coaster