So a few weeks ago I gave notice at the bladerunner job I'd held for the past 18 years. I know, a job as a bladerunner sounds cool, but it ain't. What I really did was run a weekly route for a sharpening service, visiting cabinet builders and print shops, picking up dull saw blades, paper knives, and router bits and returning the sharpened blades the following week. I had taken the job all those years ago after trying freelance full time in my 20s, and not knowing what I was doing. During all those years I was still doing freelance on the side, but never had the time to fully commit to it. The bladerunning job was easy enough, I could get done early if I busted my hump and the traffic gods were on my side, but in the last two or three years I was having to work longer hours with no more compensation since I was already a salaried employee. And let's face it, I was already burnt out.
The longer I was there the more I started to dislike the job. The customers I dealt with on a weekly basis were cool for the most part, but I was stuck in a dead end gig, no prospects with the company, nowhere to move up, no real chance of making much more money, and most importantly, working a job that had nothing to do with what I had always wanted to do. I mean, I didn't have memories of drawing on the chalkboard in my parents' house dreaming about growing up to be a salesman for a sharpening service. I dreamed of being a goddamn artist! Every year as those months would fly by on the calender, I would think I should be doing something with the skills and talents that I had spent a lifetime developing, but I could never pull the trigger because of my financial responsibilities. It never seemed like the right time to leave in between buying a house, economy going in the toilet, and one massively unsuccessful art show. But over the past few years I started doing more and more work for the Mellow Mushroom Pizza restaurants. Only problem? Frequently the turnaround time on the work they need is very short, like a week. With my (almost) full time gig I found myself having to turn down work because I couldn't be sure I could get it completed in time and I didn't want to leave them with unfinished projects.
Eventually I decided that I could just as easily be broke freelancing full time as I could bladerunning. So with a big pep talk from my pal over at the Mellow, and generous promises from my family for help with my bills if I needed it, and amazing support from all of my friends and family, I finally tore through the cord with my teeth and ran for freedom! Starting this week I am an official FULL TIME freelance artist. I've never been so energized, enthusiastic, and optimistic about anything in, probably, my entire life! I'm not usually a glass half full type of person, but I then I hear these words coming out of the hole in my face that sound like motivational speaker Tony Robbins and realize I've made the right move. I'm planning several "experiments", like trying art festivals, online sales, updating my website to have an actual store, and I have two t-shirt designs in the queue at two different t-shirt-a-day websites. And as always, if anyone is interested in commissions, please contact me and we'll work something out! I'll try to post here more ofter, and over at my new tumblr page - atlbladerunner.tumblr.com.
So even though I may no longer be a bladerunner, but I'll always be ATLbladerunner!