Today is the first day of school I'm not attending.
I'm pretty confident in my decision to not go to grad school. I think the whole grad school thing was me misinterpreting my calling, my personal legend. Sure, I had spent the last near three years in a classroom teaching art to middle school students with a hopeful and loving art therapy flair, but I think I might've overstepped where the flair was coming from or what part of it made me feel whole.
Since I've moved to Olympia, I've visited grad programs, sent many emails, researched and researched the field of art therapy. What I have discovered is that on a broad, post-academia level, there is little to no sustainable job field for a certified and paperd art therapist to go into. The world of business and money likes to cut corners--even little art therapist corners. It seems the jobs of art therapists are being sucked up by counselors and occupational/recreational therapists... therefore displacing the counselors in the counseling field.... and then there's the social workers... and more counselors... and somewhere in there are behavior technicians which, to my understanding, aren't sometimes a certified anything, but are employed in the field regardless. I've read first hand accounts of art therapists struggling to pay off their student loan debt while hunting for work in their desired field... only to work at some looney bin organizing pizza night. I even had blog comment correspondence with my most favorite art therapist and pioneer in the field, Cathy Malchiodi. Here's a link to the blog series So You Want To Be An Art Therapist, which is an amazing series for those seeking. It's in part 7 that we had out conversation in the comments. It was enlightening. Reinforcing. Inspiring. And very, very honest.
It's hard not to feel like I'm letting folks down with my decision. I was so jazzed up about it before I left and all my friends and peers were so supportive. Some of you even offered to pair up with me after I graduated and allow me to intern in your practices, some of you offered me the chance to build my own professional program with you. THe most generous of offers. The most gracious of gratitude I have. Sincerely.
So what am I doing instead?
I'm going full artist.
People saynever go full artist, only go half artist, but fuck that.
Taking the risk. Hanging up my hat of many hats and going freelance (or whatever you could call it).
I'm gonna illustrate, paint, write, network, gallery, commission, teach, afterschool, before school, weekend, and odd job until all my art itches are scratched and multiple streams of income come pouring out of my creative self. I'm gonna work with your kids, work with you, paint all the shit gold, and join all my inner forces into one artistic powerhouse. I'm going to create my own title, uniform, and bring everything I can do to the masses in every way I know how. I'm going to keep learning what it means to be an artist and pushing myself continuously until I have the business/practice/work space/community house of my dreams. I'm going to figure it out with the help of my family, friends, and Babeduder.
I'll make my way home soon enough.
In the meantime, I'm just gonna keep chipping away towards my goals, step by step, until it's all at my feet and in my hands.
where i'll post the in's, out's, tween's, and twixt's of my world of art mixed with pictures, links, opinions, and rants. (oh, and curse words. lots of curse words)