If you're reading this, it's likely because you have a serious interest in pursuing art for a living. Like many artists before you, challenges arise but they are not always bad. Infact, turbulence in pursuing any career can lead to great things. Leaving you forced to dig a little deeper and find your place in the space of visual arts.
I had the great opportunity to speak to Jessica Gorlicky . A refined local talent who has been pursuing her art since she was only 15 and has seen her fair share of turbulence.
Jessica realized very early on that she wanted to be an artist. She wanted to make a living doing what she loved, and what she was good at it. At the time she didn't know it, but she had what she calls 'her army' of supporters behind here. Though none of her family and friends knew anything about the world of art, they all supported and encouraged her to follow her passion.
When she was 15 there was no easy access to the internet. She couldn't just google "how to become an artist" to learn more about the starting steps on the road to success. She had to learn the hard and long way. She started networking. Talking to people, and proudly agreeing to any opportunities that came her way. She spent two years building a portfolio that she submitted to the York University Art Program at the age of 17. Her ego was destroyed when she was denied into the program. That's when she convinced herself she had to go it alone stating, "There is a time when you say, I'm going to take things into my own hands."
She started hussling. She sold her art in small venues like Starbucks and other cafes. Painting Murals. On several occasions she was asked to paint live for charity events. Amazing exposure that allowed her to give back to charity by auctioning off the finished painting, and that got her seen by many art enthusiasts around the city of Toronto.
Naturally, that hard work paid off. She got her big break when she was asked to perform live, painting art at the Winter Olympics over a decade ago. She performed on behalf of Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) who was a presenting sponsor at the time. Along side celebrities like Shania Twain, she painted twice a day for a month. Gaining experience, more exposure and more opportunities. Just like that, she developed a niche in her space. It built her confidence and self esteem. Opportunities started rolling in from there. Even performing for Cirque De Soleil, that she claims she manifested since she was a child.
As her career was snowballing, she felt more and more confident that she could raise her prices and never undervalue her worth. Working as a contractor she learned that she always needed to improve herself and her skills.
You can find Jessica these days in her stunning art studio selling her art and creating. Her niche of performing/painting live still makes up a huge part of her income. Commissions are a close second. To date she is responsible for raising over $350k for charity.
Although it was hard for her to sell her art when she first started, she realized when she was ready, around 17, that "if you don't let it go, how are you going to make room for more?"
It's wonderful to hear the success story of a passionate artist. Her failed attempts at hosting multiple art shows, her denial into art school, and so many more failures is what brought her to the accomplished artist she is today.