this feels kinda awkward tbh but i’m just gonna ramble about my life a bit as a hello.
please overshare something with me back so i don’t feel like i’m hogging your attention.
it’s impossible to encapsulate everything i want this blog to be at this point because i feel very aware that i don’t even really know where it’s gonna take me yet. i do know at the core i really want it to be a place to share more of my story – my personal story, my successes, struggles, my history, and how i ended up here as an artist, and also the story of my brand and my art and let you in on the process as i learn and grow my craft and my business. sometimes that’ll be curated blog content and sometimes it might be stream of consciousness writing or poetry or rants. i’ll warn you, i’m a rambler – these likely won’t be short and i tend to write in a lot of run on sentences. (my grade 12 english teachers warnings ring often in my ears…) and if you’ve noticed, i have an aversion to capital letters. truly, i don’t know why, it started awhile ago and i can’t stop – it’s just more aesthetically pleasing to me, and its nearly turned into a weird superstition.
with all that out of the way… let’s start at square one, shall we? i want to introduce myself and the muse brand and why it’s all so intertwined, for those of you that haven’t yet been acquainted.
i’ve been painting my whole life, but i only noticed it recently. truly. it never occurred to me that i was any sort of ‘artist’ – i just always kinda liked to make things in my downtime. my nanny painted and sold ceramics and wood crafts at local markets and church fairs and we were always sewing or painting or crafting at her house when i was little. i learned the basics of tole painting, acrylic painting, ceramic making, doll making, sewing, crocheting, knitting, furniture restoration, interior decorating, rug hooking, quilting, glass etching, woodworking… you name it, we dabbled in it. craft time was play time, the craft aisle at walmart was like christmas in july and debbie travis reigned supreme on the tv. into middle and high school i focused more on sewing and fashion and photography, selling handmade show blouses to other girls i rode horses with, learning pattern and freehand designing in 4-H and at school. (obsessing over the teen vogue forums and finding my love of (and my poor attempts at) fashion and lifestyle blogs… see how the puzzle pieces start to click…) then in university i swung back into painting, decorating the walls in friends dorm rooms with dollar store paints and canvas and changing my own décor frequently. i sketched on beaches and busses when i traveled around australia in my gap year, and my most professional training to date – i frequently finger painted and drew sidewalk chalk under the supervision of a 4 year old as a nanny. i was always happiest on craft days at school or coloring in lieu of playing with toys at my babysitters. and like i said, i didn’t ever think this would mean anything for me – i was no ‘artist’, i just enjoyed crafts. i dabbled in art. cool hobby, dude.
around this point i was 24. i had finished my bachelor degree in physics and wanted to go into a medical field, after a co-op term in the oncology department of a cancer treatment center. i settled on radiation therapy as my next logical step. i wanted to work as a technician for awhile to get a real understanding for the treatments and the patients, and figured down the line i would transition to medical physics or dosimetry. so in 2015 i found myself back in canada, back in school, and loving it – at least at first. and then the deeper into my program i got, the deeper the hole in my gut felt, and at some point i knew i wasn’t going to be okay if i continued into this career. as much as everything about it on paper checked out, and i enjoyed the job and was overall pretty happy doing it, stress and hardships included – but there was a nagging feeling that grew until i admitted it wasn’t right for me. unfortunately this took over a year and exponentially escalated my anxiety until i was barely functional some days, making me physically sick and emotionally exhausted. from the other side of it i can see this breaking point had to be an extreme low point for me to really accept that i needed to quit this path. it just felt intrinsically wrong, and i am a person who believes in gut feelings. i still can’t fully explain it, and i will dive deeper into the mental health aspects of it in a later post, but i can tell you the moment i decided i was done i felt a million pounds lighter. so i quit. before i ever really started, honestly - i finished my clinical time requirements, wrote my final exams, graduated, and got approval for my license to be a radiation therapy technologist – and then promptly turned down the job offers i received, and i continued waitressing full time. i knew there would be a reason and it would get clearer to me when i needed it. i had a seed of an idea at this point but no real clue what i was signing myself up for.*
through this time of intensely second guessing my career path and basically bailing on 8 years of postsecondary education (and some hefty student loans to go with it) art became my therapy – the original mej muse doodle was born while i was still in school. she was a mix of my frustration for not being able to express my anxiety and from the boredom of a lot of time spent in bed wallowing in junk food and depressed naps. i posted cartoon style drawings of her on instagram to vent and at some point i felt like drawing more than just my anxieties, and then at another point people started asking me to sell them. i had a lightning bolt moment in 2018 when i saw so many creatives killing it on instagram - i realized i could be selling things outside of my immediate circle and make a real side hustle of it, and mej on paper was born. i made an etsy store, started with some horribly lettered emo lyrics, found out reproducing lyrics infringes on copyright laws, rethought my whole approach, went back to the muse and dug out some deeper creative bones i hadn’t shaken in awhile – and finally, here we are. even after that leap to selling my work it took me awhile to recognize the real passion and excitement i have for living creatively –but somewhere along the way i decided to drop the notion that i’d return to my area of study and get a ‘real job’, and to instead follow my gut and jump into this creative world like a cannonball.
the muse brand stems from the muse herself, and she's really become much more than just a cartoon in my sketchbook. i’ve got another post coming about her and what she means so this one doesn’t get too out of control long. suffice to say you’ll see a lot of her - she’s remained a core piece of my art and brand and i’ll never stop including her, but i’ve also branched out in ways i’m really excited about. i hope you enjoy the range of my work, because as much as i would love to have a signature style or range, i just have too many influences and inspirations and ideas to only create one type or subject or even only on paper (hint hint). that’s what’s really staying true to me, being a constantly changing and eclectic and mismatched collection of interests. and that’s one of the million things the whole muse idea stands for, to be true to every part of you that makes you unique, and be inspired by yourself – be your own muse. remember that those around you inspire you and influence your decisions as you unconsciously or consciously try to emulate them – so choose your external muses wisely and knowingly lead yourself on a life path full of inspiration and creativity in whatever arenas you feel empowered in.
so that’s me up to here, more or less. and from here on out, i wanna go big. it starts here with art, and i’m already so fortunate to have had the support i’ve gotten with launching mej on paper and getting to sell at markets and having you all order the best custom ideas i could ask for. its awesome, and i hope i’m lucky enough to continue that in some capacity forever because i truly love creating pieces that hang out in your homes and make you feel happy. tis pure magic to me. but i’m not stopping there - i have a lot of ideas of where i can take this brand, and already have some other endeavours up my sleeve. muse by mej is the beginning of a new world of plans and ideas for me, a serious 180 for my life and my career, and i’m so excited to bring you along on the journey. i’d like to ramble a little, vent a little, share a little – basically i hope i can show you my learning curve as i go, because i believe in learning by teaching. i love watching entrepreneurs and artists and homeowners post process and diy videos and tips and hints and business chats and behind the scenes on instagram, and i want to share all that from my perspective (aka being totally clueless and doing it anyway). its time for me to share what i’m really up to when i say i’m about heading towards quitting my full time job and transitioning to another career entirely.* please share any advice or aha moments or creative ideas of your own, i love to chat and am totally open to your tips and anecdotes and jokes and tell me your favorite songs and your favorite cookie recipe. let’s be friends.
* and as a disclaimer, i’d just like to say right away that i know a lot of people will say i’m wasting my education, or my time, or i’m being foolish and should get a job that has a real salary – if you’re thinking it, its cool. so were my parents. hi mom and dad. i think you’re mostly on board with this new plan, right? lie to me if you’re not. but truly – i won’t acknowledge this often and i’m not trying to justify my actions to anyone because there’s no need. but a lot of people very close to me in my life have said this and more to me – so not to them, but to anyone who is dreaming of doing something ‘against the grain’ – just fucking go for it. other people don’t have to live in your mind or your body everyday, so they don’t get to dictate what you do with your time and your life. don’t let their doubts and fears for you, or your fears of their comments on your choices, stop you from doing what you know in your heart is right for you.