[Today’s photo for Day 5 of the 365 Days Project is Serena Kovalosky working in her outside studio.]
After spending 18 years in the corporate world, I traded power suits for paint-spattered jeans and stuffy board rooms for an airy artist’s studio. There’s a sense of freedom in wearing comfortable clothes and being surrounded by things that inspire you every day.
#5 – I can wear whatever I want in my studio. And I never have to sit in a gray cubicle again.
When I left the corporate world in the late nineties to become a full-time artist, the very first thing I did was throw away my nylons. (Yes, we still wore nylons in those days.) Then I got rid of all my corporate-looking suits. And I reveled in the fact that I could wear anything I wanted in my studio. Or wear nothing at all.
Even my office is fun and funky with bright colors and inspirational ideas tacked to the walls. The business side should be as fun as the creative work since I bring my creativity to my business as well.
As Richard Branson once said about business, “If it’s not fun, move on.”
The 365 Days Project
In 2012, Serena Kovalosky committed to writing an article a day for 365 days as an exploration into the lives of artists and the value of creative thinking in our society.
Experience the full evolution of the project! Click below to read the entire collection of articles.
Day Corporate Suits may have a different meaning than it did pre-2000. Think of “the company man” ideal of the 1950’s or the Pre-911 Wall Street trading floors with suit clad folk shouting and running about over small pieces of white paper. The character that defines this model of post WW working life persists, however the Silicon age, the societal shift from proper, formal decorum to casual, and now the COVID-era work in your pajamas from your bedroom and maybe brush your hair has steered the expression into different channels. Miriam Webster defines the word corporate as “having qualities (such as commercialism or lack of originality) associated with large corporations or attributed to their influence or control” or when distilled down to its essential meaning, “of, relating to, or formed into a controlled unified body of individuals”. When distilled further the crux of the meaning arrives at a crossroad. A reframe of Day 5’s title could be Ditch the Unified Group. Walk towards your inner directive. Self-create. Draw out of self an independent direction.
The freedom to self-direct, to unfetter oneself from unified corporation, to remove a socially imposed mask and open to the possibilities that rise out of inner prompting is a noble freedom. This is a courageous path that I have idealized from a young age, and for a complex of reasons have been unable to manifest in the passing iterations of my day-to-day life.
This, in my opinion, is closer to the most refined understanding of freedom; a word that has been recently under conspicuous attack by citizen in-corporation that co-opts the word freedom for its own unified objective underpinned with a cloaked intent for control; such as to assert the individual ‘freedom’ to shove cameras in unwitting persons’ faces without respecting the other separate individual the freedom to consent; or to not mask during a global pandemic because of asocial, political ‘freedom’ to infect others at will with a deadly if not long-term debilitating disease. AND to legalize doctrinal ideology that eliminates free choice of intimate personal decisions, decisions that that reside only within the sacred chamber where God’s given grace of free will is in relational conversation with a human heart. Really, what this ‘freedom’ may be is some contorted sub-genre of unified corporate-suitism, (ranting a bit, but cathartic to say the least).
A sterile sameness portrays the corporate suit – corporate lawn, corporate car, corporate landscape. In colorful contrast walking the multi-faceted, thought filled, life giving and life growing individual path opens the door of possibility to a world filled with curiosity, exploration, reflection, surprise and delight. While composing this last sentence I saw myself holding a large willow basket and placing in it every variety of my favorite fruits perfect in their ripeness. Yum!
Now one could argue this does not mean that those wearing a corporate suit cannot carry their own basket. In fact, I am quite sure we each are born with one. Plenty of examples exist of individuals within the corporation container who go home, put their own clothing back on and follow their own music score. It is possible, I know, to memorize poetry while watching test tubes simmer. We know stories of those who would write by candlelight in the darkness of night. But what Serena addresses on Day 5 is the arrival at a crossroad where you meet a scarecrow pointing in two directions. The road laid in the north to south direction is one that follows the status quo and the road in the east to west direction is where one will travel with the independent imagination. In choosing this latter direction one jumps ‘full Monty’ into the sea, sloshes past voices of reason, swims through the sting of survival instinct to at last reach a place of self-navigation (notice the absence of the words still waters).
I will forever admire the trailblazers, transformers and creators that traverse unchartered territory every day. Honor to those who have wandered along a path not corporately remembered, but who have left behind them quiet wakes from their making, which are ultimately knit into a quilt of collective memory at a scale that no one person alone would ever be able to grasp. Hail to those of us who set our sights on travelling our own landscape, but for a complex of reasons could not. Thank you to all who have tried. Keep on keeping on & Don’t Stop Believin’. Journey to the fare-thee-well.
Thank you for sharing your thoughts, Pamela! You have captured the essence of the exploration behind the 365 Days Project: to look to the artists as we navigate this time of great change and embark on a new era founded in creative thinking while releasing ourselves from old, unworkable systems.
Artists have been doing this for millenia.
Listen to the Artists.