Well, this is how it happened.
My metalsmithing interests came to fruition while I was studying at a university. I was studying visual communication design at the time and I started to teach myself metalsmithing outside of school. It was a hobby that I squeezed in every day after classes and it blossomed into something that I could have never imagined.
My whole childhood everyone always referred to me as the artist of the family. My first medium was pencil and paper. I used to draw realistic portraits of musicians when I was in elementary school.
By the time I was in high school, I heard so many people refer to me as “the artist,” that it painted a picture in my mind; I am destined to be an artist.
In high school, I took a senior studio class that allowed us to work with different mediums. I remember painting an acrylic painting and nearly all of my classmates told me how incredible it was and how they wish they had my talent. Every time someone said that to me it didn’t feel right. How could another person feel so much joy and excitement from something I made, but I didn’t? Is this what life is supposed to be like? If they wanted it so bad and I didn’t—maybe this wasn’t my destiny, it was theirs.
After graduating high school I was lost. Am I looking for a career path that makes other people happy? That’s a good thing, right—making others happy? Or am I trying to make myself happy—too selfish?
The fall after I graduated, I started classes at a local community college with intentions of transferring my credits to a university. I stumbled upon the fashion design and merchandising department and was completely enthralled in it for two years until I graduated with my degree. It was a fun program; it let me experience a fun side of life in my early 20’s but, it didn’t end up speaking to me in the way I thought it could. I still woke up everyday with a sense of urgency to find my place.
Fast forward a year, I began studying visual communication design at a university. All 4 years I learned a wealth of information from business and finance all the way to illustration, branding and web development. I challenged myself and took on advanced classes and excelled in all areas. The first few years I had a fiery passion to design because I was learning so much. I started integrating my skills with pencil drawing onto the computer and exploring the digital world. Again, all my classmates would praise me and say they wish they had my talent but, it still didn’t feel right.
“How could another person feel so much joy and excitement from something I made, but I didn’t?”
I remember frequent talks with my professor; how he would always assure me of the fact that I was one of the most talented in my class. One day towards the end of my studies, he said, “You’re good, you’re really really good at what you do. I just don’t see your passion.” That line stuck with me.
He was right. He was absolutely right. At that point I had something already brewing on the back burner. In a sense, my professor had just given me the OK to pursue it. My drive was fueling me in a different direction and I had just then came to the realization that it didn’t mean I failed at anything.
Metal is my passion. I now realize that I derive an enormous amount of satisfaction from the creative process. I love to physically build art with my hands. The most important part that I was missing over the years is the sense of satisfaction that I felt while making my art.
Every little bit of my education has pushed and formed me into the business owner that I am today. It took years of discipline to teach me to not give up so easily. It took me years of studying to know how to be imminently successful in business. It took me years of searching career opportunities I didn’t know existed before I made one for myself.
Let this be a reminder to you, that no matter how many times you give up and try something new, you are never failing.