My 48 Minutes by Kyle Mosher, Charlotte, North Carolina

Six years ago I was a struggling artist, working long hours in retail while trying to break into the art world. Not what I imagined the real world would be like when I graduated. The last thing I wanted to do after working a ten-hour shift was think about art, let alone create it. I slept away the stress and woke up day after day only to do it all over again. After about a year of working full-time, I longed to escape the monotony. I realized very early on that I wasn’t cut out for it – I needed something else. I became a master at managing my time. I used my lunch breaks and various lulls in the workday (my boss would cringe if she read this) to do something, anything creative. Anything that would either give me a mental break, or leave me feeling like I had done something productive to further my art career and get me out of retail. These small, creative outlets helped break up my day and motivated me to further pursue my art. It wasn’t much – an idea here or a sketch there. I even created a book for collage using only items from my work – business cards, letterheads, old receipts and marketing materials – whatever I could find, I used to create art. After a few months of doing this I was reinvigorated. I worked up the energy and the motivation to create art when I got home from work.

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My 48 minutes was a series of small 10-15 minute breaks throughout the day. I still had to endure retail for another three years, but this got the ball rolling. This was an essential piece of the formula that helped me transition into the art world. I didn’t know it at the time, but I was learning so many valuable life lessons while working retail. I developed a passion to succeed at whatever cost, as well as thick skin and an insane work ethic. I would advise anyone who is currently in the same situation, working at what seems like a dead-end job while trying to follow his or her dreams, to keep going. Don’t stop. Do whatever it takes. I promise there’s something to learn and you’ll get there eventually. This may seem clichéd, but I’ve been there. I am living proof.

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Fast forward six years and I have the opposite problem. After tons of hard work and a little bit of luck, I am able to be a full time, self-sustaining artist. I now need to find the time to take 48 minutes to unwind from the art. I cannot stress how important it is to step away from your work. Do something mindless and self-indulging. For me, it’s playing my guitar, reading Buzz Feed lists, or rotting my brain on Instagram. As much as I hate not working, for fear of losing everything I’ve worked on, it’s so important for me as an artist to step away from my art and return with a fresh perspective. I’ve had to teach myself to take breaks, staycations, and vacations. I’m usually restless and unable to take my mind off of all the things I need to do or all of the things I want to do in the future with my art – I drive my girlfriend, friends, and family crazy. I can say with 100% certainty though, that I come up with some of my best ideas or plans of attack when I force myself to step away from my work. These breaks are my 48 minutes, with a twist.

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I’ve been on both ends of the spectrum. I’ve been a struggling artist and am now a self-sustaining artist. There are still many things I want to do as an artist, and I still consider myself very young in my art career, but I’ve learned an enormous amount in these short years. The real world has a way of humbling you and teaching you lessons that school never can. Keep that in mind the next time, and every time, you find yourself in an unfavorable situation that seemingly has no end.

To learn more about Kyle and see his much sought-after work, stop by his website.

For more entries of our emerging artists, visit our blog at 48 minutes.

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