Preface: So, if you are seasoned veteran artist, rookie or perhaps an older artist that started, stopped, started, stopped and started again at the age of 40-something (like me), and you are interested in a few thoughts and things learned from an artist that has been around the block a few times and has finally found a small amount of success, then you are in the right spot. This month, and the coming months, I would like to share what I have learned and what I still struggle with as a creative in our smaller and more connected world.
My name is Anthony “AO’ Oropeza, I am Creative in Training – so, don’t touch that dial here we go …
Art & Gratitude
Written: March 2023 (Published April 2023) – by AO
Who is Gonna Read This Away?
So, I am a couple months behinds on my posts, but better late than never, right? Or better yet, who is gonna read this away? Well, you never know. Nevertheless, this will be my first of 12 posts (at least that is what my goal is) for 2023. And yes, I know I need to make up a couple for the past couple months – but my goal is 12, and 12 it shall be. So, we will see how well I do playing catch-up since I am basically a one-man-show in this studio – and I do it all when it comes to the marketing, print, inventory, ordering and packaging, art production, customer contacting, adding more duties (like article/blog posts ) and everything else involved in running my small AOART5 Studio here in KC.
Thank You – Everyone & Everything …
So, for 2023, my first article is going to start off with gratitude. I want to start this year off by thanking everyone and everything. For the past year, and the many years before (if you have been following me that long), there have been many ups and down on this art and business path I decided travel.
I wish to deeply express how thankful I am to everyone out there – readers, web visitors, friends, crazy family, collaborators, my kid, crazy moms, my crazy cousins, my 9-5’er peeps, event volunteers, clients who have purchased AO Originals, print clients, team that runs the studio arthouse, fellow artists, printers, tax people, people who return my texts and emails, people who have patience when I don’t return my texts or emails fast enough, friends who want to brainstorm about taking AOART5 to the next level, social media followers, those tough-to-work-with people, and even the tough situations (business and life situations) that have tested me for these past 10-plus years – to name a few … basically I want to say “THANK YOU” to everyone and everything.
With that, I decided to put out here a few words a month for those of us struggling artist/creatives trying to figure it out (even though I am still trying to figure things out myself) and to give a bit of insight on what I have learned on my journey to achieve some kind of decent success.
Thankful for the Good, and Yes, the Bad.
Be thankful for the bad? In a word, yes. Why? Because what I have learned on this art journey, and in life, is from both the good and the bad. And I am grateful for both. I am not grateful for the bad, as if I want or wanted bad things to happen in my life, but I am grateful for what I have learned through the process and how they will help me to do better in the future. And most of all, I’m grateful for how the experiences, both good and bad, can help make things a bit easier for me going forward and for the generation after me.
Personally, like everyone else, I have taken a few heavy hits in my life, but I know there are millions of others in this world who have taken much harder hits than me, but I have I am grateful, now, for a number of those hits because they have taught me certain lessons (that maybe the generations before did not teach more, or I didn’t pay attention to).
“Gratitude can strengthen relationships and even improve your health. If you want to be successful, learn to be grateful for all the good things.” – Gary Vee
So, to list a few, I am so grateful for my madre (crazy as she is), my family (crazy as they are), my small but close circle of friends (crazy and no-good ones as they are), my relationship heartbreaks (many lessons learned), my good realationships, my baseball and softball coaches, teammates and opponents throughout the years, for my employment gains & losses, my small but awesome art client list, my live-painting clients, people that I have met due to my art, the 2012-15 KC Royals, the Chiefs, Patrick Mahomes II & Travis Kelce (I think we all know why), people who have declined my work, people who have declined me, the school that declined my portfolio in ’91, the bosses and teachers that didn’t want to provide me training or guidance, the bosses and teachers that did provide me training and guidance, those who provided positive words of encouragement when my art was less then nothing, those who where not so encouraging when my art was less than nothing (you know who you are). There are many many more good & bad I could list – but I am so grateful in one way or another for them all, because they taught me to appreciate the good things in life, valuable life lessons , and that I can use both the good and bad as fuel to learn and become a better person, designer, artist, son, father, brother, friend or anything else.
The Power in Gratitude?
So, life and business has taught me that there is such a thing called business karma (maybe a future article), and it has also taught me that there is power in gratitude. World renowned entrepreneur Gary Vaynerchuck stated via an everdaypower.com post that, “ Gratitude can change many aspects of your life. It is a driving force behind thinking more positively. Gratitude can strengthen relationships and even improve your health. If you want to be successful, learn to be grateful for all the good things.”
He (Gary V) also wrote in a 2021 Twitter post, “Gratitude is a stunning force of happiness.. as I get older I’m coming to realize how much it has mattered to me .. how much it’s brought to me..”.
Keep creating, don’t quit and THANK YOU for reading.