How Having Kids Killed My Art “Career”

When the art studio turned into a writing room, I started actually using it.

This is a guest post from Jeanette Nyburg.

I once was an artist. I still consider myself an artist, although I’m not actually making much anymore. Although this notion used to terrify me, I’m fine and happy with it right now.

In my 20s I made paintings, lots and lots of paintings, and sold them at galleries and art fairs. I was beyond thrilled and amazed that people liked my stuff enough to give me actual money for it. I got so caught up in it that I burned out and lost my passion. I started to resent the painting, the people, the time suck. I’m sure many of you can relate to this.

But this was my identity; this is what I did and who I was, and I felt safe with my identity.

When I got married and had my first kid, I could feel my drive to make art falling away and it scared me, so I fought against it and kept painting and showing. I didn’t let myself heed the little teeny tiny voice that was telling me to move on to the next step. Honestly, I didn’t know what that next step would be, so I stumbled around for a few years making random choices (like Esthetician school).

At some point, slowly, I stopped. I stopped forcing myself to make paintings that weren’t satisfying me anymore, and allowed myself to let go of the anxiety. (The guilt hung on for a while, though.)

I don’t know what interested me about blogging, but I tentatively started a personal humor blog and found that expressing myself through ridiculous writing and photographs was all sorts of satisfying. Exhilarating, even! Addicting. All things I was missing with making art.

My sister had recently given up her lifelong dream of being an actress to study Drama Therapy, and mourned the loss of her dream, and I found myself doing the same thing, yet I was happy.

I think telling myself for so long that I was an ARTIST, first and foremost, closed me off to trying other things; other means of expression.

When I gave up painting (I keep telling myself I’ll pick it back up someday), I felt so freed – despite people asking me for years if I was still painting (No! Get off my back!). Blogging filled a void for me I wasn’t getting from just being a mom and a wife, and recently I realized how much I love gathering information. I’m like a little researcher and my passion is kids’ art and design. For a while I thought I wanted to open a high-end craft supply store because of this passion, but I’m quite happy with learning about and sharing all sorts of stuff.

I’ll never think of myself as a writer, but dare I say I enjoy writing? I feel like closing one creative door opened another one in a big way. The irony of discovering that I love to write about kids’ stuff, since kids killed what was my perceived first love, is delightful to me.

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Jeanette Nyberg writes the blog Artchoo! about contagious art and design for kids in response to the arts disappearing in public schools. Her blog features fun projects, ideas, and inspiration for interjecting more art and design into kids’ lives on a daily basis. She lives in the Chicago area with her husband, two kids, and two step kids in a very paint-splattered home. Follow her on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

13 thoughts on “How Having Kids Killed My Art “Career”

  1. Fabulous post! It is so true about closing one door so another one can open. I used to teach yoga classes all over the city but after I had my second child that became harder to do and less fulfilling. I started blogging on Handmade Success and love it! I still teach but not at studios. It is hard because people always ask which studio I teach at. I love what I do now and the freedom I have now. Thanks for sharing your story and good luck to you!

  2. Great post! Love your studio too. It is interesting how kids change us and not always in the same ways or they ways we expect.

    You are a great artist and an awesome Blogger! Go Artchoo!!!

    Looking forward to checking out Scoutie Girl too!

  3. Great post.
    I am in the midst of the kid-induced career-change (or should I say “career” cos there isn’t really one to speak of at the moment), and it is scary to leave behind the old but exciting to reach for the new.
    I will check out your blog right now, it (and you) sound really interesting and fun 😀

  4. What a great post. I have no children, so I cannot relate to that, but I can certainly relate to rolling with shifting identities (or at least trying to!). Thank you.

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