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  Artist & the Day Job

Big Changes Are Coming

The Office, 2013Cyanotype Print With Digital Drawing. 16" x 17". Limited edition of 12. © Jonah Calinawan

I’m quitting my job to devote more time to my art.

I’ve been thinking about quitting, and it’s finally happening.

I saved enough money that I don’t have to worry. I did a lot of financial modeling (like this retirement calculator for artists) to make sure that I would be ok. That’s been my fear for such a long time. This fear comes from being an immigrant. When my mom and sister immigrated to Canada, we had nothing. The three of us stayed in a small room at a relative’s place. I slept on the floor. I never wanted to experience that ever again.

Financial security was paramount. It overrode any dreams.

But not anymore.

I’ve been frugal and financially responsible during my first career as an accountant that I’m now able to switch to my second career as an artist.

No More Excuses

So what happens now?

People say publicly disclosing goals is good for accountability. It’s supposed to put pressure to get things done. Otherwise people would lose face.

Public disclosure doesn’t work for me, unfortunately. I thought it would. I posted my 2018, 2017, 2016 goals, and that didn’t really help. My usual excuse was that I was busy with my day job. And that was true. My focus was there. Even during the weekend, I was still thinking about work.

Well no more excuses.

I’m quitting my job.

I can’t use that to explain why my art is not moving forward.

2019 Goals

I’m posting my art goals again, but I’m not doing it for public accountability. It’s now all about documentation. I’d like to be able to look back many years from now, and read the struggles I faced, and hopefully how I resolved them.

For example, I struggled for a long time on the day job vs. art dilemma. That was the whole reason for my first body of work, A Million Suns, which is also the name of this website. As you can see, I’ve now chosen art.

In this website, I documented what I did to balance a day job and art, strategies to make art while having a day job, but I slowly realized over time that I had to quit my job to do art. There are people that can do both, but I realized I didn’t want to balance it. Multi-tasking? Forget it, that’s not me. I’m a one track person.

So what are my goals now?

Well, finish this A Million Suns work. I’ve been saying that for three years now (see my posted goals above). See how I can reference this struggle in this journal? That’s documentation.

Another goal crept up into my life recently: music. When I was a kid, my best friend got a plastic toy piano. It was this tiny thing that made crinkly sounds. I had to have one of course, so I asked my father if I could get one. Instead of buying a toy, he bought a -real- piano! I was forced to take piano lessons as a kid. I hated it.

I can’t imagine how my family afforded a real piano. I guess we were middle class in the Philippines, but poor when we arrived in Canada. All the family’s savings went into buying plane tickets.

Anyway, 40 years later, I want to learn piano again. It’s definitely not a “photographic art” goal, but I don’t care. I’m going to follow where my curiosity leads me from now on. As Joseph Campbell would say, follow your bliss.

If you do follow your bliss you put yourself on a kind of track that has been there all the while, waiting for you, and the life that you ought to be living is the one you are living. Follow your bliss and don’t be afraid, and doors will open where you didn’t know they were going to be.

- Joseph Campbell

So learning piano is my second art goal.

My third goal is to write for this journal again for documentation. Who knows, it might help someone else who might stumble upon this website.

Change is coming. I can’t wait to see where this leads.


#career switch #goals

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