Sure, networking is okay. My LinkedIn is full of professionals in my field that I've never even had a face-to-face conversation with. Regardless of the lack of physical proximity, I think it can be beneficial to build that web of connections. However, those are not the kind of connections that I've been working on.
I've gone back to my roots.
My hometown has been heavy on my heart lately. The outpouring of love and support for my Mom (who was recently diagnosed with Stage IV lung cancer) has blown us away, but we shouldn't have been so surprised. When I was in high school, you would hear me talk often about how I couldn't wait to move to a place where there was more for me.
Fast forward ten years to the present... Whoa, time out! *Insert argument with self here* More what? More deadlines? More 3 hour movies at the AMC 30? More noise, expensive restaurants, strangers, traffic? Don't get me wrong, I'm a fan of a good movie and a steak once in a while, but I've come to realize where more really is. It's in real-life connections. I can't imagine a better connection than the one I have with my childhood neighbor that's seen me transform from the pony-tailed kid playing in the dirt to the degree'd graphic designer. Or the best friend from high school that I've lost touch with but at the first sign of turmoil in my life, they show up in a heartbeat. Or the school busdriver, whose house I started visiting a couple times a year to clean her chandelier and have pizza. The list can go on and on.
So yes, I do want to network. I want to network with the folks from my home, my community. I want to use the skills I've acquired in my journey as an artist to give back even a fraction of what they've given my family and me. That's where I'll find my more and I believe this kind of networking will only inspire and enable me to thrive as an artist. When you do things you're passionate about and do those things with an open heart that's full of gratitude, you see it spill into other area's of your life, including work. That's what hand lettering is for me and I wanted to use it to say thank you to Vandalia.
There may not be a Chipotle, a bustling downtown or an AMC, but there's an abundant amount of love, support, and community togetherness and in my opinion that trumps any number of profile views or notifications that I could ever obtain on LinkedIn.
My Uncle Mick recently said it best when he recently wrote to me, "Home is often thought of as a structure but is really something inside us and inside others."
Ciao for now.