On September 21, I will be moving into SPU. I am very anxious and emotional about move-in, but I am also very wary of the future; Not the near future, but post-graduation future. I know I’m crazy for thinking about things that are four years down the line, but I’m a worrier, it’s what I do. I know that I definitely want to major in photography and minor in some sort of writing degree; I’m going for a creative writing minor for now. I don’t actually know what career I will have after college. It’s pretty common for people to have no idea of what they’ll be doing four or ten or 30 years down the line. What I do know is, I love art. I know for a fact that art is my entire life and it will be for the next four years.
Art is not just something I do. It is a part of me; It’s what makes me, me. I pour my thoughts and feelings into what I paint or photograph or sketch. My main goal in making art is just to create beauty. I don’t actually care whether or not everyone in the world loves what I do because I do it for me. Obviously, I do it for payment too, as it is my only source of income, but it’s only because it’s the best way I know how to live. I make art to bring my visions to life and to hopefully inspire others to do the same. That’s really what I want my career to be about throughout my entire life.
If I had to pick a career to do right now, I would be a children’s book author and illustrator. Children have such imaginative minds and wonderful stories to tell. They’re basically inspiration in a tiny little human. Just recently for a school project, I created a children’s book based on my little cousin, Mikey. I asked Mikey one day, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” He said something along the lines of: I want to be a flying hot dog man and leave hot dogs at kids windows. The cutest part was, he said he would leave me two hot dogs instead of one.
So, I took what he told me and transformed it into a book, painted all the pages by hand, and turned it in for my school project. I ended up getting an A+ and I also gave it to Mikey and his parents as a Christmas present. I was told by his mother that he is practically obsessed with it and goes to bed with it every night. Now, that just makes my heart melt and I’m sure many other hearts out there too. It was just such a wonderful and warming moment to know that I created something that this little four-year-old boy adored so much. This made me come to realize that not only did I do what I love, but I also made someone else even happier. That’s why I want to write and illustrate children’s books. To be able to surround myself with my joy in life while making a living and bringing joy to multiple children out there, even if it is just Mikey, that’s truly the dream.
If creating children’s books wasn’t enough story-telling, I also want to be a professional photographer. Looking at it from a distant perspective, both careers are forms of storytelling. Photography is about capturing a story or a moment in one single frame. There is so much that could be said through photography that couldn’t be said otherwise. For example, I recently went on a day trip through the Tenderloin District of San Francisco, perhaps the poorest and dirtiest area of San Francisco, to serve the community. It is also the neighborhood with a very dense population of homeless people. Walking through the Tenderloin, making conversation with those who talked to us as we handed out food, we met a man who lost his wife named Karen five years ago to due an overdose. They would have been married forty years in 2016. He would not stop repeating to us, “Wherever she is, Heaven or Hell…I’m coming for my Karen.” We stayed and talked to him for another few minutes and prayed for him. We never did learn his name, but he was a good man and he has been through hell and back. The photo I was so lucky to capture features this man hugging with one of the fellow volunteers that day. His experience deserves to be shared and he deserves to be heard, and if I can help provide through one single image, then my job is done.
That’s the beauty of photography, it can change lives, it can bring awareness, and it can bring joy to those who need it most. Photography has a greater power than you or I can ever understand. That’s why I would want to be a photographer.
Basically, to summarize, I’m an artistic storyteller who just wants the world to listen. And yes, I did just figure my life out while writing this essay. So, whether it’s through making children’s book or through a camera, I will be happy either way. I know I’m not the greatest artist in the world, I’m no Da Vinci or Van Gogh, but I love what I do and I can’t wait to make it my career in life.