This weekend I visited a community artists studio in Chicago called Fulton Street Collective. Fulton Street Collective has two sites where artists can join the community for a reasonable and affordable price. Being apart of the artist community allows them access to personal studio and storage space, connections to exhibitors and clientele, and a collaborative and open community of artists and creative ranging in a wide spectrum of fields — from photography and painting to YouTubers and DJs. Additionally, they are allowed to host one event of their choosing per year in the warehouse-size space located above the artists' studios. Getting to tour the space and see a few of the resident artists spaces who currently work there was a very informative and fruitful experience that allowed me to think about and see first hand the life of artists in their post-college careers.
Jackie Carmody, a painter and art therapist, offered up her time to talk to me about her life as a young emerging artist trying to balance a career as an art therapist while also taking the much needed time to paint and create works of art that she is proud of and will hopefully catapult her into a successful painting career in the near future. Since joining Fulton Street Collective a month ago Jackie says she has been able to produce almost twice the amount of work monthly than she usually is able to make and has been able to take on more clients because of this. Some of her most treasured paintings are going up for sale at an exhibit in the upcoming week for a price she says is more expensive than she usually prices her paintings but believes is the right decision to up the price since these paintings are some of her personal favorites and most exemplary of her aesthetic, style, and conceptual ideologies. Jackie's work ranges from creating impressionistic renditions of the Chicago skyline, a personal favorite she tends to make multiples of given the city of Chicago is where she has grown up and lived her entire life, to whimsical surrealist scenery dealing a lot with weather, storms, cloud formations, and the feminine figure. I am so pleased to have gotten the opportunity to talk with her and have made a connection and friendship with someone I feel as though could offer me advice and serve as a mentor if I find myself in Chicago after college trying to make art. It was fascinating hearing her talk about the progression she has made since college and how she's found a way to support herself as an artist with a day job while also not letting go of the fervent passion she has for being a painter and artist through her decision to become an art therapist. A lot what she said during our talk resonated with me: that there are many more outlets and jobs for artists than one may think and that will still be able to support our passions for making solo work.