I don't believe one grows older.
I think that what happens early on in life is that at a certain age one stands still and stagnates.
I've made no secret of my age. I turned 60 in February. Admittedly, I am late to the party as far as beginning this art/illustrator endeavor. While at Spectrum Live, I had some age-related experiences that were a bit revealing. A few times, I was mistaken for Kim Kincaid's mother since I surely couldn't be her. On the other hand, on three different occasions young, eager art students asked me if I would look at their portfolios ( I agreed and sort of faked it). The problem is, I'm the age of many of the professionals who have invested 30+ years in the industry but I'm closer to those students where experience in the field (the lack thereof) is concerned.
Everyone is the age of their heart. ~Guatemalan Proverb
Since the "Rising Star" acknowledgement I have been surprised by the supportive emails individuals have kindly taken the time to send me. Most have been from fellow artists who are trying to realize their artistic dreams despite a "delayed" start. Though often discouraged, they keep at it. Jennifer Oliver (who has had a vast career in the art field) recently emailed me this note that simply made my day:
Kim: I now use you as an example for my students in the 34-65 age bracket who worry that they are "too old" to be starting careers as an illustrator! I don't refer to you as a student to my own students, but as a "rising start illustrator" who started her career a bit later than most. I hear so much whining from students over 30 (and some as young as 26) about it "being too late" for them to seriously work toward attaining their dream job. When I show them your work and the Muddy Colors post about you, then let them know that you're a grandmother who put her career on hold to raise her family for 30 years-that seems to completely change their perspective. They put away their angst and focus on their assignments and goals again. Who knows; your example may be the very thing that keeps them on course and out of a therapist's chair! :-)
Now I don't know if I've inspired anyone. That certainly isn't the reason for this post. But it was shocking to me that someone as young as 30 might feel they are too old to work toward realizing their dream.
A man is not old until regrets take the place of dreams. ~John Barrymore
I do not regret having my family and spending my more youthful years loving and nurturing our children. The life lessons that parenting has given me are priceless. Those experiences have expanded and deepened my emotional threshold and bring a whole different dimension to my art that would be hard to duplicate in a classroom setting or on the job.
“The aim of art is to represent not the outward appearance of things,
but their inward significance.”
So what's the point of this post? Age is what you make it. If I choose to make it an issue, it's going to trip me up. Yes, there might be some Art Director who will make it a problem but the truth is this:
Ultimately, I will be judged on the strength of my art. And that holds true for every artist, no matter where you find yourself on this world's timeline.
"There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you."
So come on people, young and old.
Let's do what it takes to reveal that story within us. Let's give it "voice".
There is room for all.