Dreams into Reality: Art as a Life Path
|11 min read
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Art in the Professions


"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover." -Mark Twain


6:45am. In the next hour, I will rise from my bed, drink a cup of coffee, watch a few minutes of news on the television, and get ready to head out the door to open up shop at a major retail chain down the street from my house. The moment I exit my front door, thoughts of stock counts, refund procedures, and commission goals flood my head. "I really hope no one pays with a check today because I'll have to call my manager at home to have her handle it," is foremost in my mind. Working as a retail sales associate, these are the most important things for me to think of in my day. They're important to my job, they're important to my manager, they're important to the company. But they're not important to who I am. What is important to who I am? Creativity. Performance. Artistry. Expression. None of those things will be catered to during my day as I head to my reliable, socially-acceptable retail job. I frequently ask myself, "What if they could be a part of my day?" without much further thought. Until one day, I decided to turn the "What if?" into "How can I make this real?" and never looked back.

Three years after making that decision, I have already stepped more than just my big toe into my biggest dreams and passions as an artist and a performer. It took me years to fully commit to making artistry my life as well as a move 8000 miles away from home, but I can say now it was the greatest decision - albeit the biggest leap of faith - I ever took.


After working for years unhappily in web design, server administration, IT support, and retail, I decided to put my own happiness first and make some changes in my life. Immense amounts of bravery and determination were needed to help me take the first steps onto my life path in the arts, but I powered through somehow and have never been more grateful to myself. Thanks to my determination, I've said goodbye to the idea of working 9-5 for the rest of my life and am working hard at my digital art while chasing my ambitions as an actor with jobs in national commercials, soap operas, and photo editorials - all things I once considered impossible for myself.

"All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them." - Walt Disney


Pursuing your dreams in any field can be an immeasurably scary task. Seemingly infinite questions and concerns plague most people as they venture from what they know into what they have only dreamed of. For artists, those questions and concerns can appear even more intimidating when facing the drastic differences that come with a life in creativity versus a life bound by societal rules, set schedules, and conformity. Artists tend to see the rest of society swimming swiftly with the current in the river of life without issue but yet for us? Swimming in that river is a treacherous task that can render our creative dreams and ambitions lifeless. So we must break free. We must swim against the current. In that current, the greatest challenge we face in escaping the torrent of "normal life" in favor of a creative one? Is ourselves. So have courage. Be brave. Make the choice to do what makes you happy, not what society says should make you happy. Choose to pursue what you are meant to do, not what other people say you should do. When you open yourself to the reality that it can be achieved? Nothing is impossible.


Deviants who have chosen to embrace their artistic nature are everywhere in our community. Photographers, writers, painters, and more are currently walking the path to fulfilling their creative purpose in life - no matter what. Regardless of personal or professional difficulty, there are many fellow deviants who are still living by their passion and setting an example for us all. Photograph by The-Egg, who dedicated himself to photography in the face of extreme hardship and has shared his creativity with DeviantArt for 11+ years.

"The only thing that stands between a man and what he really wants from life is often merely the will to try it and the faith to believe that it is possible." - Richard DeVos


As we journey forward on our creative life paths, there will always be those that doubt us. There will always be those that do not - and will never - understand. They may come in the form of people we consider friends, our family members, our peers: the very people who should support us the most. They may tell us we are merely daydreamers, that we are unrealistic, and that we are wrong. But we - you, me, and all of us in the artistic community - are the ones that make daydreams reality, challenge the unreal to achieve new heights once unfathomed, and show the world that things are not simply black and white - but full of color. We are the ones that dreamed airplanes into life and gave the world flight. We are the ones that refused to listen to the naysayers and in turn connected people the world over through tales of wizards, witches, dwarves, and dragons. We are the ones that envisioned a way to share artists and their art through the very platform you're reading this on right now. With so many brilliant facets of life created by people like us, why do we yield to those who say we shouldn't create them? Embrace yourself as an artist for you are special. You are someone who can bring color to life, wonder to the jaded, and vibrancy to a world dulled by normality. Be yourself by being an artist and bring about the change you wish to see in the world around you.


Sometimes drastic changes in life have to be made to strive for who we truly are and what we are meant to do in life. Giving up on a career you once had may be terrifying but also necessary to begin down your artistic life path. Many fellow deviants have taken the plunge and done so to fulfill their creative dreams. Artwork by dancingheron, a former archaeologist who left her career in science to be a full-time illustrator and author.

"Sometimes the smallest step in the right direction ends up being the biggest step of your life. Tip-toe if you must, but take a step." - Naeem Callaway


Regardless of what creatively-driven field you might be aspiring to enter, the first step is always the same: make the decision to go for it! No matter what concerns you may have? Your happiness, well-being, and overall fulfillment in life are at the core of that decision. It may take some time to figure out how you're going to chase down your dreams, but never go back on the reasons why you are chasing them in the first place.

If you're in need of some extra encouragement as you face your artistic journey ahead, check out these links for some motivation from other creative souls who are living proof that art as a life path can be a successful and rewarding one:

:star: Neil Gaiman's 2012 Keynote Address at the University of the Arts ~ UArts.edu
An utterly inspirational speech by author Neil Gaiman on having art as your life path, making art over money, and breaking free of the rules that bind us in society. A must-watch for anyone struggling with motivation, justification, or confidence when it comes to their life with any artistic endeavor.

:star: Jim Carrey's 2014 Commencement Speech at the Maharishi University of Management ~ MUM.edu
Another commencement speech - this time by actor Jim Carrey - that was the unequivocal turning point for me when I saw this 1-minute except on YouTube in June 2014. Heavily wavering on the fence between "should I?" or "shouldn't I?" with my own career as an actor when this speech was made, the day I saw this was the day I made the decision to go for my dream 100%, as this was just the push I needed. I am sure others will benefit from his encouragement, too!

:star: What happens when you follow your dreams ~ WorldOfWanderlust.com
Written by successful travel blogger Brooke Saward, this article tackles the most common questions and concerns people have when deciding whether or not to go after their dreams. Saward talks about taking leaps of faith into the unknown and finding true happiness by following her heart instead of society's rules. A great read for those who need motivation to trust their passions.

"While some see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do." - Steve Jobs


The success stories of those who made art their life path are all around us. From someone like myself who has just started down the path to other fellow deviants who are further down the road than I am, there are tales of encouragement and truth to be found everywhere. DeviantArt, this community we have all created, is an incredible resource for all of us to motivate, support, and help one another as we strive to be who we truly are: artists. If you have a story to share about taking the blind leap, following your passion, and making art your path in life? Share it with others to ensure that no artist shuts their creativity out and the world remains a colorful, inspired place where anything and everything is possible.
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Comments40
anonymous's avatar
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Raedin's avatar
RaedinHobbyist General Artist
This is in fact a beautiful journal!

I'm honestly quite young and my life could not appear any more boring but until recently I just went somewhat blindly. I finished elementary school and since we've always had plenty of animals I went for similar high school, kynology... but year after year it just did not work, my grades dropped and i was as uninterested as in elementary. The few friends I used to hang out with went to other schools and we quite lost contact, so I played video games. It became a daily routine even till this day, it kills my entire days but it's just really easy to forget everything and push the reality away. Something happened though and one day I just started scribbling out of boredom and I really found that interesting, all the possibilities and complexity were pulling me in to try and learn them and the idea that one day I could bring my imagination down to world was just grand. Yet still the destructive habits I have a hard time dealing with persist... I really want to try and sign for art school once I finish this one.

I really hope I did not sound like "another brony attention seeker" because it often happens witch such comments heh... 
HaleyHylia's avatar
HaleyHyliaProfessional Digital Artist
I am very glad you took the time to read the article and flattered you would call it beautiful. :love: I wish you the absolute best in your art and I hope it can help you as you go forward. You're not alone in it all and know you'll always have art and dA to get you through. :nod: Best of luck again and thank you for sharing your story, as well! :hug:
Raedin's avatar
RaedinHobbyist General Artist
Thank you too! :)
LinaLestrangeArt's avatar
LinaLestrangeArtStudent General Artist
Wow!!! This really inspires me!Heart 
HaleyHylia's avatar
HaleyHyliaProfessional Digital Artist
I am thrilled to hear it! :glomp: Thank you for taking the time to read through it and I am beyond glad it could inspire you! :heart:
LinaLestrangeArt's avatar
LinaLestrangeArtStudent General Artist
Thank you for taking the time for write it and for make art! Lovely Shoujo Emoji (Huggy Hug) [V2] 
Ratkes's avatar
RatkesStudent Artist
I was always doing what I thought my family and society wants me to do. But then after 4 years studying law I decided thats not what I want. I want to do something with arts.
Now that I am sitting here working on my application for game design university I am often depressed, because my artworks are really bad. (I never drew in my life before. Thats why everyone was shock when I said I am done with law. But it felt like the right thing to do.)

But this article lifted my spirit again. Thank you. I really needed that.
(Sorry for crying out here. Just wanted to show my
gratitude)
HaleyHylia's avatar
HaleyHyliaProfessional Digital Artist
No apologies needed at all. :hug: I am utterly flattered to hear the article could be the lift you needed. I relate to you very well and was in a very similar situation with my own family for years. Know that it can most certainly improve and you don't have to settle for what your family/society want you to do. I am proof of that amongst many other fellow deviants and individuals out there. :heart: We are all here to support you as fellow artists. So keep reaching for what you know is right for you. It will pay off in the end. :glomp:

Thank you for reading the article and I wish you the absolute best of luck following your dreams. :) You have my gratitude for your awesome feedback and for sharing your story with others who might be in the same situation right now.
MajorasMasks's avatar
MajorasMasksProfessional Artisan Crafter
And be prepared for everything, even being poor, because not everyone can make lots of money with what they like to do; but they'll surely be happy.  :)
HaleyHylia's avatar
HaleyHyliaProfessional Digital Artist
Exactly. ;) Sometimes money might get short while chasing your dreams of being fulfilled in life, but ultimately if you are truly fulfilled? Money problems aren't going to bring you down too bad anyway and can be figured out. :)
MajorasMasks's avatar
MajorasMasksProfessional Artisan Crafter
I wish more people realized this.  :)
TheMaidenInBlack's avatar
:heart: great, great article. A lot of people would benefit from reading this, on DA. (:
HaleyHylia's avatar
HaleyHyliaProfessional Digital Artist
I hope so. :nod: I can't stand seeing journal entries from young artists who are on the brink of a meltdown because they're families won't support them in their artistic dreams. It's rampant here on dA and I thought if an article was put out there? Maybe it might help someone somewhere who is facing the choice to give up or carry on. Thank you for checking it out. :hug:
TheMaidenInBlack's avatar
That's definitely something I've seen myself. Sometimes it just feels like it's people making excuses for themselves, though, because more than lack of support from their peers, what they have is a not big enough passion for their final goal.

I think the matter is dual, though. On one side, there's your (correct) article reminding people that they need to stop doubting and go for it, on the other, support is very important, especially psychologically; and what you do when faced with the lack of your family's support can determine just how determined you are to follow your dream, but it's not only that. For example, I have a great family and although I am very independent, I rely on their approval a lot because I know that they would only disapprove of something that they think is a bad idea: so when their support is lacking, I know that they might have a point regardless of how awesome I think my dream/objective is, or I realise that I might need to delve deeper into the matter to find why they're not enthusiastic and see if they have a point or not. Because sometimes no matter how much you believe in an idea, it can honestly be shit and you just can't realise it and it's the people around you who take you back to reality. :lol:

No problem, I really enjoyed it! :hug:
The-Egg's avatar
The-Egg Photographer
:iconclapplz: very well written, and a good read! thank you very much for the mention. :love:  As much as I'm not an apple fan I really like that Steve Jobs quote, I've often felt that a bit of insanity is necessary to see the world from a different perspective ;p
HaleyHylia's avatar
HaleyHyliaProfessional Digital Artist
Thank you! :dummy: I agree, absolutely. :nod: I knew when I proposed the article to PE that I wanted to include you in it somehow - your story is just too compelling for other artists and I'm thankful you were willing to be included. :heart: Thanks for checking it out!
WayTooEmily's avatar
WayTooEmily Digital Artist
Thank you for writing this article! I'll definitely look into those videos, haha.
And good luck to you on your own path as well. :)
HaleyHylia's avatar
HaleyHyliaProfessional Digital Artist
Thank you for checking it out! :love: I'm glad you enjoyed it and I appreciate the good luck. :D
WolvezByte's avatar
WolvezByteHobbyist General Artist
Loved the Read. Really motivating :D
HaleyHylia's avatar
HaleyHyliaProfessional Digital Artist
Very glad to hear you think so. :nod: Thank you so much for taking the time to read it and share your kind words! :love:
jennystokes's avatar
jennystokesProfessional General Artist
Very good and YES we can all try and try and try again and again and again!
Have faith in yourself and dream?
HaleyHylia's avatar
HaleyHyliaProfessional Digital Artist
You got it! :nod: Thank you so much for reading it through and sharing your encouragement, as well. :hug:
jennystokes's avatar
jennystokesProfessional General Artist
My pleasure.........the more we help each other the more we can become strong and stop this hatred in the World?
Love Heart 
RogueMudblood's avatar
Excellent article - thanks so much for sharing it!
anonymous's avatar
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