The Practical Painter

[caption id="attachment_751" align="alignleft" width="550" caption="San Francisco based Artist & CEO"]San Francisco based Artist & CEO[/caption] There’s nothing at all practical about making a career choice to become a full time painter.  But if expressing yourself is what you're meant to do, then any other choice is absolutely stifling.  I know because I didn’t paint or draw anything for over seven years. I majored in industrial design in art school, not painting. Painting just wasn’t practical. When I got married and moved to the dull suburbs of Sacramento, there were no design jobs. So I got a job at a large computer corporation to learn new practical skills to help support the mortgage on a cookie cutter home of the American dream.  And soon after, I divorced. I stayed on the practical path and left my creativity behind.  Then I spiraled into deepening depression and anxiety that no treatment could budge. So I picked up my paintbrush again, in private.  All out of therapeutic options, I thought that painting could be a practical tool to focus my ever-anxious mind.  And it became a useful treatment. Then I met a woman while I was working away in one of the dimmest corporate cubicles I had ever occupied. Angela was her name and we were the same age.  We often spoke of what it is that we would do if we didn’t feel chained to our practical jobs. Angela would be an interior designer and I would become a painter. Angela was recovering from stage four-breast cancer.  She was given a second chance to live her dream, yet she remained in the cubicle.  I thought it was absurd that Angela did not pursue her dream.  She was married and had no children.  She had support.  I thought that her dream was more practical than mine. Angela helped me realize  that I couldn’t put my dream on hold any longer waiting for practical circumstances.  It was now absurd to stay in a miserable job. I had no support, financially or otherwise, when I moved to San Francisco to paint full time.  And no business advice from my brother, the Dean of a business school.  His opinion: this venture was not practical.  He was right. But then, in 2007, Fortune magazine wrote an article about me and my work and entitled it “The Practical Painter".  The last line of the article quotes my very practical advice,  "If there's something you really want to do, do it now."
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