When I first met Tory I thought she was so cool, but I had no idea how cool. Not only is she an amazing painter, printer, sculptor, and conceptual artist, but she is funny as hell too. She is my first interview thus far for Boss Lady Jobs, and while her awesome, creative job is relatively new to her, I couldn’t start a blog about amazing women I know and not include her.
So being that Tory is the subject of my first Boss Lady Jobs blog post, I would like to share with you what I hope to accomplish with the blog and why it came about. With this blog, I aim to illustrate the lush variety of careers that we just never learn about in school. Hats off to all the lawyers, doctors, and bankers whose careers are so vital to our society, but, if you are like me, the idea of a job that requires a suit and a neat bun sounds about as close to a nightmare as I can imagine for myself. I am insanely lucky to be able to be creative at work everyday and meet other women who do the same. So, with that said, meet Tory.
Her official title is now Craftsman Apprentice, but she still calls herself Artist. In her personal work she focuses mainly on painting but is hoping to pursue more practical expression with her new position at Urban Electric. She also hopes to expand her personal work into jewelry, lamps, home accessories, and decor for the home.
One thing I find interesting about people who do creative work is how that relates to the work they do purely for pleasure. Many times that overlaps but for Tory, the two are separate. “I do some artwork in my free time but considering it more work lately. The work I do for myself and for other people is different. But I have to make time for both. Certain kinds of work are important and habitual to me.”
Looking back at yourself as a child, what traits make you perfect for the job you have now?
“When I was a kid I wanted to be an architect, but I was more focused on the interiors than the structural needs, and eventually I gave up on that because of my math training. I’m slowly realizing I was always more interested in design and interior decoration, which is where I have ended up.”
Was there a moment of panic when you decided you didn’t want to be what you always thought you wanted to be?
“At first thought I was giving up by being a studio art major and thought I was settling and not getting what you should out of a college experience. Part of me thought I was not taking advantage of my college situation. But now I realize I am the only one of my graduate friends who got “useful” degrees and I am only one of a few I know who has been offered a “real job” within my field of study. All the skills I needed to get this job and commissions for my own art are based on skills I developed in art school.
"Everyone told me this was not advantageous in the real world but I did it anyway. I thought I was being BOLD but to most it looked like I was being lazy. I kind of was but it worked!”
Best piece of advice you ever got?
“Do not necessarily do what comes easy but you would rather be doing. Often what comes easy is what you are good at and are most likely to succeed at. Still, you must create challenges within your field to keep expanding your skills and knowledge.”
What has been your greatest professional hurdle?
“Confidence, feeling secure in my skills, self awareness of my value and worth in my field, not underselling myself and not being afraid. I’m still working on this but you have to put yourself out there.”
Personal hurdle in relation to your work?
“I just beat my first hurdle by getting a job with a competitive opening and interview process. I’m slowly cutting out negative people, working to overcome social anxiety, and participate in group shows. It’s difficult for me but it’s making me better. I need to make room for connections and be open to the opportunities that arise in my life. I’ve spend time with older artists who help me stay focused and learn more technology-based skills. I have anxiety and am excited to work with creative silent types, some weirdos. People who get me, accept me, and expect people like me in a professional setting. That’s what makes me want to make art my career, factory style craftsmen job or me making creepy portraits for people? Either way I’m excited to work at Urban Electric. I want to be around people who want to learn and grow within the company and it’s a great opportunity for to grow my design skills."
Something about your job people don’t know or realize?
"When I make something original, a lot of me goes into it. I think that's why I am looking to do something less personal, to remove myself from what I make while I expand and grow my skillset. That’s why I want to make lamps and jewelry."
"Block of cheese."