BLOG*November 16, 2010

You know the day destroys the night
Night divides the day
Tried to run
Tried to hide
Break on through to the other side.


Welcome to my Blogging Ensemble! I have invited some amazing bloggers, art writer/author Peter Clothier, artist licensing expert Maria Brophy, champion of the handmade Nicole at Lillyella, San Francisco painter Anna L. Conti, and popular art culture icon Miss Mindy to expound upon a subject which strikes fear in the hearts of most people in this country: creating a living outside the confines of the corporate world. It takes some courage and a plan, but it can be done! Read how to break on through to new possibilities in the links below.


I remember having conversations with my Dad when I was studying at Art Center College of Design about what my plans were going to be after graduation. My Dad had worked for many years as a salesman for a plastics company. “Well Dad,” my mind raced, “I am learning how to take my drawing and painting skills to another level of expertise… I am learning how to conceptualize…” He would interrupt me, “But what are you going to do when you graduate?” I muttered something about magazines and newspapers and then quickly change the subject, “How about them Dodgers?!”

The idea that I would “freelance” was a scary proposition to my Dad, and frankly to myself. My Dad was a salesman but he still received a salary. Going your own way takes a certain amount of boldness, courage, and rebel entrepreneurial spirit. Making a living this way takes a lot of hard work, self volition, and bill shuffling until you get off the ground. The benefits of this model help you gauge the value of your worth more directly, shows you how your career is advancing, and allows more flexibility as well as freedom to make changes.

The corporate world is like a drug. It is easy to get comfortable with a check that enters your bank account every two weeks. The company sets your work time, job tasks, schedules, lunch time, goals and deadlines. Security never felt so good.

When I lived in New York City in the 1980’s my neighbors who were corporate cohorts working downtown in Wall Street, could not imagine how anyone made a living freelancing. I distinctly remember them shivering when they said to me, “We could never do that!” The fear was tangible.

I created illustrations for Time, Sports Illustrated, Fortune magazines and was awed when I would walk into the 48-story Time Life building, with it’s large murals by Josef Albers and Fritz Glamer in the lobby. The editors, art directors, and staff were amazing people who headed these prestigious publications for years. The Time Life empire of 28 years ended over night when Time Inc. and Warner Communications merged in 1989, becoming Time Warner. Within a short month or two the hundreds of talented people that staffed these magazines for decades were gone. Security was an illusion.

Freelancing was a dance with the corporate world that had it’s advantages until the economy shifted or the industries (like publishing) that I relied upon faltered. It really was my renewed interest in the San Diego Comic Con (in 1990) that opened my eyes to the concept that artists of all kinds could make a living outside the corporate machine. Here writers and artists were forging a new model of artist sustainability with their own products. I saw my many years as a freelancer dependent on corporate America, transform into an independent art empire built by my fans and collectors.  Now I teach others how to become empowered with new possibilities.

Pulling away from a corporate paradigm that has been ingrained in our brains since we were very small is a challenge. However there are many successful creative individuals who have broken through stereotypes imposed on them through family, education, the media. Break on through to success as you define it. Become the industry of your dreams.

Peace and prosperity,


Read the other uplifting and fascinating posts here-

Persist: The Blog
Maria Brophy
Miss Mindy
Working Artist Journal