I was driving the other day and this popped in my head. My life right now, same as it NEVER was. I’m a big fan of the Talking Heads and love the line from their song “Once in a lifetime” so much that I decided to tweak it and make it my own. A year ago, I was plugging away at my boutique, coming up with new designs for my in house clothing line. But tired. I had been doing it for 6 years and knew that things would need to change. Something. Anything. My landlord was hanging around and had hinted hard that he was squeezing me out. Speaking of which, have you seen that new Netflix show, Flaked? So spot on, based in Venice. But I digress.
My husband was working across the country in Asheville, North Carolina. I was in Venice, CA with our daughter. Back & forth, back and FORTH. And I needed to find a new storefront since my block had rapidly gentrified and my landlord had by then given me notice. But nothing felt right, so I decided to move. One of my customers, Emily Bartlett described me as “California in a Bottle.” Hmmm. Yes, I think I feel that way, too. But I could take my California with me. Or so I thought. Wherever you go, there you are.
Almost a year later, I have spent most of my time in the mountain town of Asheville, NC. While a hippy town and super open minded, it’s been a challenging and at the same time, life changing year for me. I thought that it would be easy to transition my fashion business from LA to a smaller market. I’ve been working in this business since I was a teenager. But instead, my wheels stopped. My inspiration was different, I didn’t have customers to give me immediate feedback, and my production capabilities were all going to have to be rearranged. I felt like a fish out of water. And I didn’t want to keep trying.
I looked for storefronts. I passed on a big one downtown (too big), was passed over for a space in the up & coming area of town (a blessing), and recently had a desirable space downtown be offered to me as a sublease, but the owner has since changed her mind*. Sigh. But all good.
In the meantime, I had a small “mini boutique” space at an antique mall in town. I decorated it, made it super cute, and tested out more of a lifestyle concept for a boutique. Great idea, but the foot traffic was dismal. I was losing money. So I pulled out.
So I decided to stop and step back. Since the beginning of the year, I have been making art. EVERYDAY. I have become an instagram cliche of doing a daily post/day of a new habit. And my new habit has been practicing in my art journal. Every month has a new theme. January was “Fire” led by Lisa Sonora. February was “Love” and songs inspired by it. March has been “Flowers”. Some days are easy and some days I get a pit in my stomach when I post “share” because it’s not as good as I want it to be. I’m still learning what “good” is and that it’s all about the process. Sometimes the result isn’t what you intended, but even better. Or worse. Funny how I’ve rarely been afraid to show off a new clothing design or style, especially one that I am proud of. But these art pages aren’t always as perfect as I like them to be.
So I continue to practice my art daily. I’m keeping the website going, and have plans to revamp, rebrand and offer online art classes that are fun and easy to understand. I have a podcast up my sleeve and keep editing the content. I want to sell my art (gulp), too. In my dreams, I envision a big canvas of mine hung up and featured prominently in Architectural Digest in the home of Drew Barrymore. I love designing clothing, but that has been on the back burner as I venture into this brand new world. My heart pounds with excitement when I go into the local art supply store and stock up on my favorite colored gel pens and paint. The signs are being pointed in this direction, and so I follow. Day after day. Once in a Lifetime. Same as it NEVER was.
You can follow my daily art adventures at Instagram.com/MEandBlue.
*I got a text earlier this week telling me the space is now available again, stay tuned.