How's the muralling?

My fellow commartsian was nice enough to ask after my wellbeing and the mural business recently, and I got kind of long-winded in my answer. Since I'm something of a spotty blog-keeper, I figured I'd put it up here as a rare insight / update on something more than pictures. 

a shot from my walls at the street art festival - gotta do a post on that too! oy


Hey Emily! How is the mural business? You are one of the examples that us seniors in commarts are following, just curious how it is going.

At this point, most of my jobs are coming from friends and family. This makes me a little nervous when I think about it too much, but realistically it's because I advertise very very little as of yet. Besides, these are real, paying jobs, so it's not totally like I have a fake business (hah)... more than anything it's friendly and pleasant and I have a lot of creative freedom, which is resulting in some real portfolio pieces finally. (It's a little harder to get mural portfolio pieces than illustration pieces just because of logistics)

Working for myself is slower than being in school because I simply can't enforce the sheer number of deadlines that school does - there's certainly plenty for me to do (like the advertising...), and what's awesome is that I WANT to do all of it. Class assignments were never particularly tortuous for me ("this isn't going in my portfolio, why do I have to do this??!??!") but having a to-do list that is 100% exciting, interesting, relevant projects and tasks is.... hard to describe. HerrSuite is my only job right now - no day-job - and it is actually for real paying my bills. Part of that trick is having very very very low living costs. I do some non-murally commissions just because I can, and sometimes as semi-favors.  I figure I need a diverse diet to stay healthy. The change of pace is a little worrying - it feels almost vaction-y, and I KNOW that I could be doing more... but I just don't know how to make myself do it without pressing myself with feelings of guilt and worthlessness.  So, I just do what I can, try to have good habits, and try not to focus too much on the difference in workload.

The real challenges so far are motivation and socialization. Simply being out of school is a huge paradigm shift for me - I did really well in school, but more than being a good artist or scholar, I was a good student. Now that the world where I know all the rules and can bend or break them or use them at leisure is not relevant to me anymore, it's taking a lot of mental work to find my balance. Without real, hard deadlines for nearly anything, everything that distracts me from working has double the power over me. The consequences just aren't there to scare me into working - I mean, they exist, but they're much subtler and long-term. So it's ironic that my other problem is not spending enough time at parties. I live with my boyfriend, and the nature of both of our jobs is that we could go weeks without seeing any of our friends if we don't try at it. In lieu of classes that have me in public by necessity, it's a lot more work to stay in touch with old friends or meet new ones.

What else.... well, in a more 'shop-talk' direction, there is always more painting to do. It's a little weird that I chose painting as a career - I've always been most comfortable being a designer or drafts(wo)man - I have so much to learn about painting itself. I'm also always refining my process of painting a mural - I keep a lot of notes from each project about how I did it, what I could've done better, what to remember next time, etc...

It's a little overwhelming seeing how enthusiastic everyone ELSE is about murals lately. I thought I was moving into a relatively deserted field, especially compared to the jam-packed illustration and concept-art industries. The more I poke around though, the more muralists I find, especially in Richmond. It's undoubtedly a good thing for more people to be interested in and excited about murals, but it's hard not to get the nervous 'hey! hey this is my turf!' feeling. Really, it makes me realize that I have a ton more to learn about murals and street art and interior design and.... You can always go deeper into a field that you're really interested in.

Anyway, in a sort of long-winded, unedited sort of way, that's how it's going! I love reflecting and talking about this kind of stuff - it's a unique position to be just a few moments ahead of someone else in time and be able to give them a map to work from. If you or anyone else has questions about life after school or murals or etc etc etc let me know - I'm happy to ramble~