"To forge a path, you must own your ability to forge" -
I am reminded of this time and time again, especially as I hit the latter half of my turbulent twenties. I look around and compare myself to my peers – where they’re at in life and why I’m not there. Well, the answer is simple: they are forging a path unique to them. Realizing that, I remember I can forge – I can create! In fact, I have been since I was young.
It began as sketching because I constantly hurt myself in sports, but over time, I found I had a passion for drawing and painting. Whether it was extrapolating from the imagery of the Star Wars saga, or trying to recreate what I saw in nature, art became a means of self-expression and observation.
As I grew older, I knew that I wanted to make art a part of my profession. Being a concept artist at Lucasfilm was my dream job, but I also loved natural history. Enter Biological Illustration, defined as the use of technical illustration to visually communicate the structure and specific details of biological subjects of study. This field perfectly merged my interests, and I pursued a Bachelor of Science in it at the University of Florida. After graduating, it was difficult to find work locally in the arts. I had told myself that my first post-collegiate job had to be in my field of study, or else, I was a failure. BIG LIE. A lie that paralyzed me until many friends and family reminded me that their first jobs hadn’t been in their fields – and that was okay. Refreshed and reassured by their sage advice, I began working as an elementary school teacher.
Was it what I had planned? No, but it was a position wherein I was able to be creative to an extent, and hone my abilities as an instructor. I changed roles within the school over the next five years, eventually becoming the art teacher…in the midst of covid. I had continued to freelance with my art while teaching, establishing my own design studio in 2020, and creatively challenging myself by entering the fray of being a muralist! It was a lot to balance, so I left my teaching post to pursue art full-time.
By no means am I rolling in Banksy-type windfalls, but I am happy. I am passionate about the path I am forging, a path that allows me to create because I believe that we are all created by a Creator to create. The how of that just differs for everyone. So as I continue to explore the burgeoning field of Biblelogical Illustration, a fusion of natural history and scripture, I will stop comparing myself to my peers, and own my ability to forge, carve, and create my own path in collaboration with God.