We had the good fortune of connecting with Aria Fawn and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Aria, do you have some perspective or insight you can share with us on the question of when someone should give up versus when they should keep going?
This one is tricky. Especially as we may not always know what we want. Even knowing what we truly want may lead us down a path that will, very likely, come with some failure until we figure it out. I actually went through numerous, art related career possibilities that I pursued and had to give up when I felt in my gut that I would not be happy doing them, and that the original glamor they held was just that, false glamour over a lifestyle that would have been ugly for me. And it was at that point that I started pursuing the least stable of my career options, which was independent art. Making the art I wanted to make, and finding a way to live off it. And while I now know many successful artists in that field, at the time it was still a faraway concept to me. I just had the hope and well, honestly, the desperation based on a lack of happiness doing anything else. And maybe all that became a little voice assuring me it was possible. Once I had a basic idea of what I wanted, I then had to learn how to navigate the failures within that pursuit, and learn how to give up and rebuild individual concepts, without giving up on the entire concept of being a full-time independent artist. Both failing and giving up can feel like slamming into a brick wall. But I really like to think of them as doorways instead. Failure has truly been my best teacher. I have failed a lot, but I have also learned. Giving up has worked somewhat similarly for me. Sometimes a project just does not work out, or it is hurting more than helping, and I have to give up on it, evolve it, and come back with something better. In those cases, I learn, and I benefit from the painful experience. And after years of learning and failing and giving up and evolving, it has helped put me in the mindset of finding ways to open these doors, rather than thinking of them as a wall. It has taught me how to give up on the right things, and not to give up entirely. I do not know if there comes a point when the thoughts of failure or giving up stop creeping in. Maybe for some people. But not for me. It still creeps about in my mind sometimes. But having built such a long foundation of embracing failures, and learning to see them as learning opportunities, has kept the flame alive. It has shown me that what I want to do, is absolutely worth doing despite hardship. And I think it is so important that each of us realizes that the pursuit of dreams will come with failures, but that they do not necessitate us killing those dreams altogether, unless we find something that genuinely makes us more happy.

Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I have been creating for as long as I can remember. Though of course, like most children, it started purely for pleasure. That same pleasure was what kept me wanting, and wanting and WANTING to do nothing but art. I look so forward to creating every day. It is the kind of thing that can take a morning of waking up in a fog of depression, and make the day feel just a little bit clearer. It has definitely not been easy though. There were many months of struggling to pay bills and figuring out how to make my somewhat niche feeling art find its community. And just as one thing seemed to be working out, I would find I needed to evolve it into something else in order to keep going. I quickly discovered that being a full time independent artist also meant learning how to manage a business and all the nitty gritty tasks that come with that. In the beginning, I was an intense workaholic to unhealthy points. Not sleeping or eating enough, often working 16-18 hours a day and sacrificing time with friends and family for years just to try and make it. I think I must have had a spirit guide holding me up at times because I honestly feel surprised that I did not burn out. I guess I was lucky. But I would not encourage others to go that route, and looking back with what I know now, I could have done things differently. Although I truly do not regret it for all the lessons it gave me. I feel that today, I have a much healthier balance in my life. The Pandemic has truly thrown my career for a massive loop and taught me many lessons. 2020 has been the year of evolution. It was and still is frightening at times, but is also pushing me to new discoveries about myself that I am truly grateful for. One of the biggest things I have benefitted from learning over the years is that it is about working smarter, not harder, in some cases. True, I still need to be willing to work hard, but I have found that with learning to schedule myself, something that felt like pulling teeth due to my incredibly abstract nature, I am able to fit in far more tasks in a day with efficiency. Learning how I work best through trial and error, and working over the years to become more structured has been massive. I am still humbled constantly by the incredible friends and peers I have in the art field whom I have been lucky to learn so much from. I did not go to art school, but I would be nowhere if not for the other artists in my life. And I truly mean that. Having a positive community of passionate people to relate to was and still is very important to me. I know how difficult that can be to find because I did not find it for a long time. But we are so blessed with the internet that connects us with other like minded souls all around the world that now, when we want to find a community, we can. To this day, I am asked frequently at shows what I do for a “job” And on occasion, I am met with scorn at the idea that I have dared to do art for a living. These questions never offend me personally, but they make me worry because I meet so many people who want to pursue art but are discouraged by the dream-killers and even well meaning friends and loved ones in their lives. I always feel a kind of hungry desperation when I meet with these people that makes me just want to pour as much hope and knowledge into them as possible so that they can finally be free to pursue their dreams. Art making for a living is difficult. I think people are well aware of that. But it is so much more worth it than having to live the rest of our lives knowing we left a big part of ourselves behind. So my wish is that we would start supporting one another in our wild pursuits. My wish is that we could actually be more kind and help one another. We do not need to be competitive, trust me, I know enough crazy successful artists to know that there is truly enough business to go around. We do not need to crush each other’s dreams in order to feel superior, or spread our bitterness about our failures upon others in order to push them down. We need to be kind, we need to give hope. I am grateful that I never listened to my naysayers, and I am so grateful that I found those in my life that helped keep my hope alive and I really hope for anyone reading this, that you find that too.

Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Honestly, I am so much more of a nature creature that I seldom get out to the city! But when I do, I always love to show my friends Nooch vegan market, Make Believe Bakery, City O City, and Watercourse. I definitely recommend people check out Valkarie Gallery which is truly one of the best, and most well run galleries I have ever visited or been a part of. I also highly recommend getting out of the city, and going for hikes. Three Sisters park is one of my favourite free hiking places!

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Valarie Savarie, always, and my art COven (you all know who you are <3 ) I would be lost if not for all of these incredible creators who inspire me with advice, critique, and the constant fuel to push myself to be better. And also my partner Willow, who inspires me to be more positive and confident in every day life, as well as in my career.

Website: https://www.shepaintswithblood.com/
Instagram: @ariafawnart
Other: https://www.patreon.com/ariafawn for art career advice, art tutorials, and much more!

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