Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Freedom is my goal

When I left the practice of law, I naively thought I would be able to just step out of my lawyer shoes into "new" shoes and keep walking. Turns out it wasn't that easy.

Being a lawyer-turned-artist has been a huge blessing. My years arguing cases before appellate courts, culling facts from transcripts, and writing concise, persuasive appellate briefs gave me professional skills that the average artist does not possess.

My technical writing background has helped me write multiple press releases, two successful art grants, and collate an art event list that populates the inbox of over 200 people each month.

My public speaking experience has allowed me to confidently practice as a certified Zentangle (R) teacher, speak with the media, and give a 20 minute presentation about my work as a visual artist at Duluth's American Association of University Women's annual fundraising dinner.

And the same, "I know where I want to go, but I'm not sure how I'm going to get there" internal drive that got me through law school and into the prosecutor's office gave me the fortitude I needed to spend a year drawing on a piano and hire a film crew to create a 17 minute art documentary that is now available on Youtube.

I am grateful for every one of these skills. Without them I do not think I would have been able to accomplish all I have in the four short years since becoming a teaching artist. I am grateful and I am tired.

While I no longer practice law, I feel every day that I use my legal experience to practice art. While essential to being a successful artist, the control and discipline I experience as a lawyer-turned-artist tempers my creative spirit.

As a practicing attorney, I had a box in my closet filled with art supplies with the words "Free Me!" written on it. Since leaving the practice of law, I've wrestled that box out of the closet, spread its contents far and wide, shared its creative joy with every possible being and as I write this now I know that I am not yet free.

Intense creative productivity has dominated my four plus years as an artist and now the call for quiet fills my soul. No internet noise, no classes to teach or attend, no projects to plan, just quiet. A three month sabbatical to just be. Freedom is my goal. I'm looking forward to experiencing what silence has to offer. I'll see you in April.

Esther Piszczek wearing her Heart Wall pattern (silk scarf and cotton knit skirt),
custom printed at Spoonflower.com. Skirt sewn/designed by Vivian.