Artist Life: ArtPrize 2015

I’ve learned in my life that it’s important to be able to step outside your comfort zone and be challenged with something you’re not familiar or accustomed to. That challenge will allow you to see what you can do.
— J.R. Martinez

For the last several years I have been resisting (for many reason's I won't go into) to entire ArtPrize. If you are unfamiliar with what ArtPrize is, here is a description from the official ArtPrize website: More than 1,500 works of art at 160+ venues across 3 square miles of Grand Rapids, Michigan September 23-October 11. AND What is ArtPrize? A radically open, independently organized international art competition decided by public vote and expert jury.

This year I decided to enter. However, I entered NOT to be competitive and to hope to win. (Let's stop and drool lustfully for 2 seconds over the giant monetary prize that is awarded to the lucky few winners. Ok...that's enough.) I entered as a challenge to myself. This year I made a goal to push myself to do something that forced me to step out of my comfort zone. ArtPrize totally forced me to step outside of my comfort zone. Typically I post my artwork on Instagram from the comfort of my iPhone, but AptPrize is a public affair. A very ublic affair. My artwork is currently hanging in 3 windows of a boutique in a very high traffic area of town.

I also opted to work on a surface I've never worked on before...fabric. I'm not the typical artist who does a gazillion thumbnails and sketches before starting the real deal. I like to do maybe one sketch and then just grab my pencil and go to town. This time around I was so freakin' intimated by the task and the unknown that I spent 2-3 whole weeks sketching.

Oh and then...THEN there was the scary job of actually painting on that fabric. Yup. Comfort zone totally jumped over, thank you very much. Alas, it went swimmingly. I think fabric painting and I have a bright future together now. It was a lot of fun for me... if you paint with watercolor you know how it's a total control game. Painting with watercolor on fabric (raw muslin leftover from my fashion school days, specifically) is a control game x 1000. My usual 1 to 2 hours of painting and I'm done turned into several days of painting. Waiting for the paint and water on the fabric to completely draw before applying the next layer was annoying. Patience grasshoppa!

Then, THEN, there were all of the embellishments I made by hand. Melting fabric petals and getting all crafty... You get the picture. Play a tiny violin for me. Wahhhh... yeah during this process I was regretting it constantly. I think I said "why did I decide to do this" umpteen million times.

Doing this series really pushed me in my work and pushed me emotionally. My husband can attest to that... Thank the Lord he is very patient and knows how to handle my totally crazy "artist" moments. All in all, I am happy with how The Sirens turned out and I've gotten some great feed back. 

Pushing yourself out of your comfort zone, at least once a year should be a goal for everyone, especially for us creatives. It helps add fuel to the fire; to reignite our passion. It helps us remember why we do what we do. It helps us grow. Like the quote above states, "The challenge will allow you to see what you can do". I've left my comfort zone several times this year (more on those times later) and I think it's making me feel like I have my "big girl pants" I'm starting to mature as an artist and designer. I'm becoming a real adult!!! <--sarcasm

The big question... will I be doing ArtPrize again? We shall see! I won't say never because saying 'never', in my world, usually means 'yeah I probably will. Maybe I'll say, whenever I need to challenge myself I will enter the competition again.