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Become a Working Artist

Who do You Want to Be When you Grow Up?

I lived with paint under my nails, clinging to my manicure, and covering my clothing. I went to sit down lunches at Olive Garden, Pizza Hut, and Appleby’s five days a week, completely covered in rich colors that streaked my hair, my face, and covered my hands – and I mostly loved every minute of it. I was a muralist – I did faux finishes and contract painting too, but my passion was taking an interior and making it a setting – a place where dreams lived. I brought walls to life, filling them with fantasies and depth of vision that excited the space. I found power over worlds that could live in that breath of space between the paint and the surface. I loved living in that dream and when it was over, it was a long fall back into reality.

Okay, I did say I mostly loved every minute of it. Being a working artist means being controlled by the client. It means bringing their vision to life, even though sometimes you get that rare moment when you get to create a piece of work from top to bottom. For the most part, however, it means being subject to the styles, choices, and inspiration that the client has had that motivated them to hire a muralist in the first place. It is a wonderful job, and I would love for everyone to be able to do something that is this fulfilling for at least some part of their life.

Excerpt from "Become a Working Artist" by Dianna Heppe

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