Sometimes it takes more than a nudge to make a change, it takes a brick in the head. After discovering incredibly terrifying details regarding a co-worker's criminal past I abruptly choose to leave my 10 year position at an upscale restaurant in downtown Kingston. It was painful and I felt ashamed about concealing the reason for my unceremonious departure from my "work family" but it felt safest not to "stir the pot" (restaurant pun intended) and become the target of this violent person. I don't think I would have left if it wasn't for that, I loved hosting people, I was comfortable there.
I look back on my days in Kingston restaurants fondly. My former co-workers will always feel like my brothers and sisters at arms. And I am grateful for the many lessons I took away from working in the service of others.
(back hallway of the restaurant, sitting on a laundry bag of dirty linens eating dinner before the second half of my double shift that day. Looking sad AF)
It was a very vulnerable time, wanting to inject myself in the art scene but feeling more like an imposter with not much to offer. So I took my first summer (finally free from the torture of working double shifts on a busy restaurant patio) to find new avenues and form new friendships and a new "tribe." Spent some time volunteering at an art gallery, traveling Ontario, swimming, painting, and just generally shaking off the surliness that comes with working in service industry for *gulp* 23 years. By the end of that year, chasing opportunities in all the wrong places, the universe delivered me a new start close to home.
A studio became available at The Tett Centre for Creativity and Learning. Friends pushed me to apply not realizing that I HAD applied and been rejected before and had left me feeling... well, REJECTED! After a bit of bitching and moaning I was convinced to freshen up my application and be vulnerable again. Well, thank goodness I got out of my own way because my 2nd attempt, backed by extra experience, awarded me the space!!!
This April marks 2 years since I joined the Resident Artists at The Tett and what an adventure it's been. The transition from working as a server at an upscale Kingston restaurant to Career Artist only really felt complete when I signed the lease for my little studio on the second floor, at the end of the hall. The exposed limestone walls, steel supports, concrete floors, and lofty ceilings are the stuff that studio dreams are made of. This beautifully renovated historic building on Lake Ontario "wows" most who visit but, those are just the bones.
(Just a few of the many amazing creatives L-R, Rhona Evans, Floriana Ehninger-Cuervo, Lisa Morissey, Nadine Baker, Adele Webster, Bethany Garner, Peng Wang, and myself)
The heart of this place is the community. The people who supported me to dust myself off and try applying again, the ones who holler "Coffee's on!", the ones who stop in for visits, the spontaneous "think tanks" , and being able to grab a neighbor to ask them for a critique when you're feeling stuck on a piece. We laugh, cry, promote, and celebrate each other. I have been welcomed into this crazy little family that largely resembles the "Island of Misfit Toys" and I couldn't love it more. Thank you all for your help and support through my first year of clumsily finding my footing and the second year under the dread of the pandemic period, I don't know what I would have done without you all.
Much L❤VE from Studio G,
“Sometimes when you're in a dark place you think you've been buried, but you've actually been planted.”―