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Here’s a new little painting. “Lady Frances, Bewitched and Bejeweled.”

Lady Frances, Bewitched and Bejeweled

“Lady Frances, Bewitched and Bejeweled.” (Oil on paper, 3.75″ x 5.5″) © Gina Matarazzo

Being an artist is not quite like I expected, and yet, it’s everything I had hoped for.

When you’re a kid, sometimes you are lucky enough to have an idea of what you want to be when you grow up. Sometimes you agree with that when you do grow up and sometimes you chase the ghost of what you thought you wanted to be when you were a kid. And this ghost chasing can keep you from being happy because you think you “promised” your inner child something and if you don’t honor that, then you can never be truly happy.

Well, I got news folks, that inner child never knew the whole picture. That inner child didn’t know how you’d feel as an adult and he/she didn’t know how you’d feel about a lot of things when you gained real responsibility. Heck, that inner child would probably be stunned and shocked at you to find out that you love vegetables EVEN LIMA BEANS! Things change. You learn and grow. And this includes the things you want to do in life and how you decide to do them when you become an adult. To change your mind or see things differently isn’t a betrayal of that inner child. It’s getting to know the real you behind the instincts.

For example, for years I wanted to work for Disney and be an animator. And when I grew up and went to college, the reality of what that entailed made me change my mind. I knew enough to know that I didn’t want to draw 24 frames per second. That’s a lot of work – and that was back when you had to do it all by hand (OK…I had no idea I could have just worked on backgrounds at the time…which I might have been cool with). But anyway, that wasn’t me betraying my childhood dream, that was me realizing something about my true self. I just didn’t want to work that hard. And knowing that about myself was important. I don’t think that lifestyle would have made me happy.

And as it turns out, the freelance illustration lifestyle didn’t suit me either. (That was my second choice in college). Every time I’d get a freelance job, I couldn’t wait for it to be over so I could work on my own projects. I knew enough to listen to my inner self rather than my inner child. And so I found myself working as a Graphic Designer with full time pay, benefits and a steady paycheck. My inner child didn’t know how much I would grow to love a steady paycheck and the value of health benefits.

And here I am today, loving being a Graphic Designer and loving coming home to work on my own personal artwork. Where will that lead me? I’m not sure. But I know I’m having fun working as an artist and that’s all my inner child ever really wanted.

Here’s a painting I finished a month or so ago:

Henrietta, in Her Wildest Dreams

“Henrietta, in Her Wildest Dreams,” (Oil on panel, 11″ x 14″) © Gina Matarazzo

And I also got news last month that the following painting made it into “Spectrum: The Best in Contemporary Fantastic Art, Vol. 24” (due to be released at the end of this year).

Animals in Forest Fairy Tale Oil Painting - Gina Matarazzo

“Her Majesty, in the Afternoon,” Oil on Panel, 18″ x 24″ © Gina Matarazzo

The only real complaint I have is that I’m usually working all the time and I’m exhausted. But I will do that for as long as I am able and enjoy it as long as I’m able. When I can’t do it anymore, then I’ll rest and sleep and read more books and sit on the sofa more.

Did you want to be an artist when you were a kid? Did you become one? Is life an an artist what you expected it to be?