Jan Hiltz: Artist

Lots to say

I’ll credit the momentum for the inspiration to write again so soon. Blogging isn’t a new concept for me; I’ve been posting my words on the internet since 1995, albeit sporadically. I’ve wanted to get back into it, so here we are. To some extent, I still have to get used to expressing myself openly, because it’s something I’ve been unable to do for the majority of my life.

A lot of my current projects are things that have been percolating in my brain for some time. In some cases, literal years. Until May 2022, I was working in aviation, as a pilot. It’s a career that took me to many fascinating places (like the northernmost airport in the WORLD, Alert, Nunavut!) The upside of working in a non-creative career was the ability to make a good wage, and still have some time to create. (A lot of people love the job for that very reason- there are a disproportionate amount of very talented artists and musicians who also fly airplanes). A pilot’s working day is somewhere between 12 to 14+ hours (regulations dependant), which means you end up with a lot of days off. I was able to work part-time on my art, and had the cash flow to stockpile all kinds of great art supplies. I also got to build some useful life experience and figure out what I was going to leave as my artistic legacy.

When the stars aligned, I lept into the great unknown of working as a full-time artist. There’s never a good time to start, and I don’t think you’re ever really “ready” when a big life change happens. Overall, it’s been enjoyable and not as terrifying as I had envisioned. It’s still early days. I recall starting my photography business in 2008, and wondering if anyone would ever hire me, but by 2011 I was so busy I turned down more work than I took on. I’m in the same starting place with my art business, albeit with more confidence. I know that people will buy my work because they already do! (thank you btw!)

That said, I don’t know what really, truly, ramping up full-time is going to look like when all is said and done. I have lots of options and lots of things I want to work on. So I’m doing it one step at a time and adding things on as I see fit. I use my divergent brain to pounce on new ideas that excite me (like this blog) and usually get a decent foundation laid before I lose enthusiasm. At that point, I am able to maintain and grow things slowly while I move on to the next big idea. I think that’s pretty much the status quo for creative types.

Failure is part of the process, and some of the “amazing” ideas I have won’t pan out. Conversely, a lot of them do, sometimes better than I ever imagined! The only way to figure any of it out is by taking action, and one of the ways I motivate myself is by sharing my ideas and work in progress. That includes my very imperfect, but very heartfelt, blog posts.

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xx Jan

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