My earliest memory is me showing one of my drawing to my mother. She was sitting at the dinner table doing something that was obviously much less important than my latest masterpiece. In my eyes, I had just done a perfect drawing that would get me hired by Disney Studios (the ultimate dream in my kid's mind). I remember my mother being a lot less excited about the drawing than I thought she should be, considering her daughter had an incredible talent.
The next years I spent basically being a kid, drawing, painting but also doing a bunch of other kids stuff. Growing up, I had the belief that people are born with a talent or not, and that practice doesn't make much of a difference. Either you're an artist or you're not. Either you're good at sports or you're not. That started to make me worried about having enough talent for art and also for a bunch of other things I thought were expected of me in life. That belief sometimes made it difficult for me to create art, every time it was like a test of how much talent I was born with, instead of a fun thing to do. I started creating less and less art.
Fast forward to when I was 16. I started to have this strange and very strong feeling of urgency. All the time. I felt like something was going to happen that would obliterate life as I knew it and I had to do something. I didn't know what but knew I HAD to do something, and fast. At that time, I also wrote in my journal: "I know that there is more to life than this. Some grander thing that we can't see." A few months into it, somehow the idea came to me that, actually, I wanted to be an artist. I started going to drawing classes twice a week and do "artsy stuff" like decorating my schoolbooks and dressing all weird....The feeling of urgency eased. I was happy.
I decided to go to fashion school. Because I loved fashion (who doesn't when you're 18?) and I thought that I could actually make good money doing it (compared to being a starving artist). Being 18 and in a different country (France) in a competitive fashion school, I didn't last a year.
Embarassed at that dropout, I decided to be "practical" and get a master in psychology closer to my hometown. I graduated with honors 5 years later.
But I'm stubborn. I couldn't imagine being a psychologist. I loved learning about psychology, not so much trying to help people in that way. I wanted to help people, but being a psychologist was just not working. So I decided to go back to fashion school, this time in Paris. I even had enough savings to be able to spend a summer studying Fine Art at the Academy of Art in San Francisco (aka best time in my life).
Once in Paris, I was so resolved that this time, I was older and stronger and it wouldn't be a failure. I was good at drawing figures, but unfortunately, not that good at sewing, and even worse at putting myself out there in the parisian fashion world. It was very overwhelming to me and a couple years into it, I realized that, as fun as the parties were, I wasn't cut for this. In fact, I didn't want to be part of that world at all.
Back to square one.
Back at my parent's place and with no clue what to do next, I received an offer from my spiritual teacher to come aboard the team to help with managing the retreats she was offering. It was an amazing opportunity and considered the ultimate dream job by many. I was so grateful and having an amazing time. I learned so much. I started meditating every day and learning about energy, chakras, Hindu gods and goddesses and sacred geometry. It changed my entire life. I also moved permanently to the USA at that time. Almost 5 years ago.
Despite all this, after a couple years, I started to feel more and more exhausted and miserable. I didn't understand why. I hadn't made any art in a couple years (!) and decided to go back to a drawing class on the weekend. The first time I went there, as soon as I started drawing, I felt a sharp pain in my spine. It was like my love for drawing was stuck somewhere really deep inside of me and was struggling to get out. I kept going back when I could and it helped me feel a bit more alive again.
I was struggling more and more to feel grateful about my amazing life, and I started thinking there was something really wrong with me. That's when I had a conversation that changed the direction of my life forever. I was talking to my coach about all the things that were not going right in my work and my mind. At some point, she started pointing to the fact that maybe I would always find something wrong, if that wasn't what I really wanted to do. She asked me: "if money was no object, nor other people's opinion, what is the one thing that you'd do with your life?" I answered: "Be a visual artist". She then asked me why I wasn't doing it and I gave her all the usual reasons, mainly that artists don't make any money and I'm not sure I'm good enough. After a silence, she said: "So there is one thing that your Soul really yearns to do, and your are throwing it down the river because of a bunch of made-up excuses." Hearing this, something broke open inside and I started sobbing (I'm still tearing up writing this today). I felt such a deep relief in my soul at the acknowledgement. At that moment, I knew that I had no choice: I had to risk it all to become an artist. Leave this awesome job and great community, all that my parents and so many were proud of me for, and start over in a foreign country. It was so clear I couldn't argue, but it still took me months to build up the courage to actually do it.
I'm not going to lie, it was the hardest thing I'd ever done in my life. I didn't have a plan, no idea how to run a business, and not much money left in the bank. In the next few months there was a lot of tears, hard work, and too many hours sitting on the couch staring at the wall, wondering how I was going to make it! But during this time, as hard as it was, every time I sat in front of my canvas and started painting, I felt such a deep relief in my soul. A peace and sense of purpose I had never felt before overtook me. I felt like magic was coming out of my fingertips and bliss filled my heart.
That brings us to now. I'm so grateful that I get to be an artist and make art every day. My heart jumps in my chest every time I sell a painting or print, or even when someone expresses how much my art inspires them. I also teach painting part time and it makes me happy. Despite all this, it is not easy being able to pay the bills and buy supplies every month, while keeping enough time free to create art. Some months I sell some pieces and it's so awesome. Other months I pay hundreds of dollars in booth fees to show up at an art fair and end up not selling anything. It's such a rollercoaster that it's challenging not getting distracted by the ups and downs... and by the different side gigs and freelance jobs I do to keep the lights on.
Then I heard about Patreon (www.patreon.com/ameliehubertart) and it took me a while to consider that people could actually want to pay me every month to create art! True, having patrons used to be a common thing for artists. But now? Would it work? Asking for support is really hard for me. I've always been a "it's fine I'll do it myself" person. I love giving, but receiving, and especially asking is another story. Then I thought, "maybe other people love giving as much as I do and would actually enjoy having the opportunity to help and be part of something like this." And imagine the world of possibilities that would open up if I could count on a set amount of money to invest in my art every month! No more relying on ups and downs of selling original pieces. I could plan on buying supplies, and maybe even get a studio space! So here it is. *fingers crossed*