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Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Three Years in the Art World…and Counting.

How does an Illustrator come to work with Darryll Schiff, the fine art photographer? During my career at Columbia College Chicago, I didn't know what direction my art career was heading. I thought that I'd get a low paying (ahem, unpaid) internship at some design firm until I gathered enough experience to deem me fit for some low rung position until I worked my way up the ladder. Not really the idea I had in my head of a free-sprited artist, living on her own terms. Thankfully, I constantly reminded myself that the art world can be blissfully serendipitous…you just have to keep your eyes open. Never did I think that I'd meet my future employer whilst working at a coffee shop. This was the kind of cafe where people were in and out, without even looking up. However, "artist types"…we tend to find each other. Darryll was a regular customer at the cafe who actually paid attention. He knew immediately that I was an artist because of my visible tattoos and called me out on it. We chatted about his work and mine, and eventually he then shared with me a book, called Seven Days in the Art World by Sarah Thornton. I look at that book now as sort of a symbol of our working relationship, as I would soon be thrown into the art world, trying to figure out how to thrive.


Darryll mentioned that he could use some more help around his studio and although I was apparently content to be a barista for the rest of my life, I decided to leave that job and hop into the unknown, just because I made a promise to myself to take every opportunity that came my way. So, Darryll took me on as an employee. He needed help with various tasks around the studio and understandably so since his pieces are larger than life.  As he entrusted me with more responsibility, I gained confidence and we began to vibe off each other's creativity. I learned from this that it's important for artists to find each other and stick together. Although Darryll has about 30 more years of experience than I do and our artistic disciplines are very different, we often find common ground because we are both navigating this hectic and, quite honestly, counter-intuitive, art world. I've found that it's important not to work in a vacuum. Sometimes you need someone to bounce ideas off of in order to remain confident in your work. Darryll is, and always will be creating, but I like to think that we inspire each other to keep at it. I never thought that I would have the opportunity to drive to the West Loop several times a week and work in an artist's studio and, most of all, be even just a small part of his success. As I watch Darryll's art business grow, I feel more and more fulfilled and glad that I listened to my inner voice, that constantly urges me to surround myself with good people and do what I love.





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