I ' m a n a r t i s t f o r a l i v i n g ,
a n d I f e e l r e a l l y l u c k y t o b e a b l e t o s a y t h a t .
I was born in Central Massachusetts to a dad with a perfect moustache and a mom with sparkling hazel eyes. They are the two greatest parents in the universe. They gave me all the love, positive reinforcement, and crayons a kid could ever want. They also gave me a pretty wonderful little sister.
On the first day of kindergarten, the very first person I met was a red-haired, freckle-faced sixth grade girl who made a point to walk over to my four year old self and say "You have big wrinkles under your eyes." That single interaction pretty much sums up my elementary, middle, and high school experience. English class and art class were alright at least. Stay in school, kids! Unless you have the opportunity to go work on a farm that looks like the one in the Budweiser commercial with the puppy in it. If that's the case, you should drop out immediately and go work there instead because for goodness sake, it's got less jerks and more puppies.
Once I got old enough to be on my way, I bid my parents, my little sister, and my dog farewell and went off to art school in Boston ('The Big City,' we called it!). Art school was a total blast. No regrets. I painted, acted, wrote scripts, illustrated, sculpted, explored! I met artists, professors, and students so creative that you had to wave the sparks off them as if waving off mosquitos. After graduating in 2004 from MassArt *cough cough* at the top of my illustration class *cough* I spent three years in that creepy post-graduation part of life learning that a person can live off of canned pasta as long as you also take multivitamins, drink lots of water, and occasionally splurge on something green. I also learned how to deal with nutcase roommates. But you know what? Three years of nutcase roommate boloney can actually help you appreciate all the sane and pleasant people you meet out in the world. During this time I worked a stereotypical horrible first job at a caricature cart at Quincy Marketplace in downtown Boston. In the summer, that's the tourist capital of the country second only to Times Square (probably).
In 2007 I decided I needed a real job and a different living situation. I needed the type of type of job where a 500 lb talentless Wiccan caricature artist with flowing blonde hair wouldn't steal my earnings from the day and tell my boss I stole it, only to use the money to enroll in spell-casting classes in Salem. That really happened.
I needed a job where, when I showed my boss my portfolio, the response wasn't "Cute. But I doubt you'll ever be successful." That really happened too. Seriously, who says that? What does that even mean? Occasionally throughout life, someone says something so puzzlingly weird and confusing that it sticks with you for much longer than it should and gives you an indelicate kick to the brain every now and then, for years after. That one still kicks me sometimes. And now that a decade has gone by, I wish my younger self had said this in response: I'm fairly sure that not many people choose to become artists- any kind of artist- because they want to be millionaires. Some people don't even (or simply can't) go to college for it, nor should they have to if they're passionate and hard-working enough. I'm pretty sure people become artists because of an inherent need to make art, in any form, in order to share funny or sad or beautiful or quiet or happy or angry or meaningful or thought-provoking ideas and imagery with the world, usually in order to make it a better place.
I needed a job where I'd be surrounded by a team of hard-working, intelligent and creative people who would encourage one another daily, inspire the mind, and produce great work. So I got my stuff together, interviewed, and was beyond thrilled and grateful to be hired by the award-winning Soup2Nuts Animation Studio over in Watertown, Massachusetts. Would you please excuse the following obnoxious thing I'm about to do? I've just really wanted to do this for years.
Hey old caricature boss, look at this.
This is just one out of the heaping pile of Daytime Emmy Awards my next place of employment would end up winning, for shows that I contributed to. But that isn't the successful part. The successful part is that I had a great time doing it and that I've met some inspiring and friendly people in the process.
Sorry about that.
Anyway, the phone call where I quit that caricature job remains the most satisfying phone call of my life. At Soup, I met the type of people I'd been searching for and everyone just clicked. I left behind my old cursed apartment at 27 Wigglesworth Street in Boston (which has been in the news recently... Told you it was cursed) for a much better one over in Cambridge, and moved in with the greatest roommate ever... the kind you end up marrying.
I was lucky enough to help out with design and background work for lots of projects including WordGirl (which won that truckload of Daytime Emmy Awards) and SciGirls (which won a Daytime Emmy and earned me a special recognition). There were also lots of other pilots and concept work that I helped out with too.
In January of 2013, my brilliant and nerdy-cute scientist husband Joe got a job at UC Berkeley. My sixth year at Soup came to an end as we packed up our trusty minivan and said tearful goodbyes to friends and family.Well, I was tearful... Joe's a manly man.
We allowed ourselves two weeks to take the highways less traveled and passed by all the big east coast cities. We saw an impeccably kept tractor museum in Virginia, stopped for BBQ in North Carolina, and saw rush-hour traffic in Atlanta. We walked an empty, beautiful beach in Pensacola. We drove on elevated highways over the rainy winter marshes of Louisiana, and watched the sun set over the strangely beautiful windmills of Texas. We went to a museum in the mountains of Los Alamos, New Mexico, up to Monument Valley, and through Arizona to San Diego. From there, we passed a pickup truck in LA which was loaded with a mountainous heap of poorly-secured yet admirably crisp, folded carpenter pants with the tags still on, and finally ended our drive in San Francisco, where I continue to freelance and still eat a can of SpaghettiO's every now and then, just to keep it real.
So now, here I am, ready to keep learning new things, ready to keep on being inspired by newly met dreamers. Ready to see what new road stretches out beyond the next hill. Ready for a new adventure, whatever that may be.