Regular readers of these Journal jottings will most likely realise i’m a fully paid up member of the ‘Hippy Dippy Club’, as aptly named by someone in my life. Therefore it will come as no surprise to you that I notice and believe in the connection between often seemingly insignificant happenings and recognise their powerful potential. To me, events however big or small are significant not random. Fate presents you with chances and choices.
As mentioned in 2018 Merci Beaucoup (a speedy round up of 365 days) fate intervened in a big way in my personal life last spring. Immediately (literally immediately – the very same day) I returned to the studio to discover fate had also made an appearance in my professional life. Sitting at my drawing table, my laptop (as ever) precariously balanced on a stack of illustrated paper, I discovered an email waiting in my inbox from globally renowned creative agency Renee Rhyner & Co in New York confirming they would represent me. I thought my heart might burst with happiness, elation, relief and excitement!
This life changing and career defining message is something i’ve ambitiously worked towards over the past few years. It’s bizarre how a few simple sentences hold such significance and alter everything. I began my career with grandious ideas and somehow by hook or by crook (that’s code for damn hard work) i’m achieving them, along with countless more I could never have dreamt of in the early days. I still feel a mixture of pride and shock towards the illustrated existence I lead.
As NYLon explained New York and I have previous. It was in Manhattan where my never ending love of illustration was sparked, my imagination was illuminated and my creative soul was ignited with a heady concoction of inspiration and aspiration.
Several months of trans-Atlantic communication followed the email news during which time strong foundations were laid for an enduring creative collaboration and culminated in me jetting off to JFK in December. Sometimes in life things fall into place and i’m so thankful I never gave up on my dreams. The past few years have shown me hard work, grit and guts manifest dreams. In the early days of my ‘opt out’ illustrated life, having left behind a ‘proper job’ in fashion (horrifying many) to strike out on my own, I sometimes suffered from analysis-paraylsis. Despite my deep rooted ambitions it was sometimes bone chillingly scary to realise financial stability lay entirely in my hands. Despite drawing for a host of top clients the analysis-paraylsis malady can still creep in from time to time but i’ve learnt when life isn’t giving me anything sensational it’s the time to do the real work. All effort, however small, in the right direction is worth it.
Now my career is well established people think it’s creative, glamorous and wonderful (they’re correct, it’s all of these things) but most only see a seemingly effortless career trajectory and omit to see the moments where its been in the shadows. Trust me, there have been times in the entrepreneurial shade! One can not fall in water and come out dry. In these periods where I stressed because I cared, I held my nerve, remembered zero complaining is a huge time saver, showed up at the studio, rolled up my sleeves and kept doing the work no matter what. I wanted to see what happened if I didn’t stop. And now I know. I take proud ownership of my career which is exceeding my wildest dreams and for that I feel truly blessed. I’ve learnt over time never to give up on something you really want as although it’s difficult to wait it’s worse to regret. Being signed by Renee Rhyner & Co is a true pearl from the struggles and having representation by a New York agency puts me firmly on the bright side of the ashes.
New York has always been good to me and given me a mix of perfect memories so I knew it wouldn’t disappoint. I belong in New York instantly and my outlook on life is propelled forwards with a surge of energy. Manhattan is my guiding light and a place countless others have also flocked to with their dreams and a desire to be part of something. That’s what’s great about the place, everyone else lives there too, so you have access to a whole world. New York islanders are unapologetically doing their own thing which is infectious and confidence inducing. In New York I become a ‘Super Me’ and never tire of the ideas that too much of a good thing can be wonderful!
I couldn’t help but notice the irony of the very first face-to-face meeting with Renee, founder and CEO of the Renee Rhyner & Co team took place at the Soho Grand. It would have been impossible for Renee to know only a few years ago I rented a shoebox sized apartment on Grand St, a literal stones throw from this prestigious Downtown chi-chi institution. In those days I walked past the Soho Grand daily on my way to my fashion work world in Midtown forever romanticising about my future life and dreaming one day I would become the sort of person who enjoyed such luxury. Then as if in no time at all right before my dumbfounded eyes was stylish serendipity.
Upon meeting Renee for the first time in real life (as opposed to digital life) I immediately knew the future of my career was in very safe hands. There was an undeniable instant personal and professional synergy between us and what we discussed over brunch (the staple meal in New York) and a subsequent 5 hour meeting opened a whole new world of opportunity up to me. Through experience i’ve learnt it’s important to surround myself with the ‘right’ people as after all I am entrusting them somewhat with my future. My illustration career means so much to me it’s difficult to know where I end and my career begins. I forever make reference to my work-life blend when questioned about how I juggle a thriving studio and a social life busier than a 90s ‘It Girl’. It’s more of a blended blur than a balance!
Renee gets me and my life completely. She understands i’m a mosaic of different influences and interests and how this directly correlates to my illustrations. She recognises my talents and how to channel my fashion illustration strengths in the right, bigger, bolder, braver direction. With my drawing capability and Renee’s experienced fusion of creative sensitivity and business acumen we’re a match made in artistic heaven.
The upshot is right now i’m at the beginning of a future I used to dream of. London may well be in my DNA but New York is in my soul. I’m planning on a summer of island living in Manhattan where I will work hard, pursue my dreams and wantonly seek life.
Manhattan – she’s magical that one.