For those of you that follow my work, you will probably have heard my recent news already. Either way, I thought it made sense to write a little blog post about it (seeing as everybody else is talking about it 😉 ) and maybe give you some more insight into how it came about and my feelings on it all….
I was approached by M&S around this time last year, 2013. They loved my work and I guess it was lucky that some of my illustrations just so happened to fit well with the Mardi Gras / carnival trend that they were focusing on for this Spring/Summer 2014 collection (with Brazil in mind as it will have worldwide attention this year thanks to the World Cup). I guess it was a right place/ right time scenario – yet I do believe that you have to put yourself in these times and places as best you can or at least be aware of, and open to opportunities which present themselves all the time. Although they already liked some of my existing work, I still had competition, so I did as much as I could to revamp those illustrations and really hone in on the mardi gras, with a street edge, idea. Even at this point the emotions were rife, I was so excited and overjoyed that I had even been considered for such a project from such a well known and well respected client, but this was mixed with a strong desire to ‘win’, to see it through and impress them so much that they couldn’t say no (a.k.a determination, which is a stubborn trait which I am both blessed and burdened to have!). At the same time I was also trying to tell myself not to be disheartened if it didn’t go ahead, that it was amazing enough that they had found my work and therefore other potential clients would undoubtedly find it again in the future, but those words are hard to digest when you want something so bad, and even harder when you are so, so close, to getting it!
As you now know, it did go ahead, I did indeed woo them with my drawings and as you can imagine I was overcome with shock, excitement, disbelief, and utter happiness i.e there was tears when I finally found out it was a done deal. I wasn’t even able to share these overwhelming emotions and one of the biggest things to ever happen to me, with anyone, and had to keep it a secret for the best part of a year which made it all feel more surreal! With this long build up I really had no idea what to expect when all of a sudden my work, and MY NAME (!!) would be across Marks and Spencer’s stores. Thankfully it was far from an anti-climax, it was amazing to finally be able to shout about it, and demonstrate to all my friends, family, followers, past teachers etc that my hard work had paid off and that their support had been worthwhile. It was an extremely proud moment. This seems like an appropriate time to say thank you to each and every one of them. I know ultimately that you get yourself to where you want to go/be, but I definitely could not have done this without that support and encouragement my whole life. I was so lucky to have people that believed in me along the way. And for those of you that didn’t, I am so happy I proved myself right and you wrong – no bitterness, just trying to disprove the ‘struggling artist’ syndrome that society (or is it just us?) continues to place on us creative types and which, if not questioned, is the main thing holding a lot of us back – a lot to write about on this particular point, so stay tuned for a future blog post on that one!
I am quite sure that this is/will be a pivotal point in my career as an artist/illustrator, and I wanted to remind those of you who feel like you are waiting for a “big break”, that yes, perhaps some of it is down to luck (although I do believe that you make your own luck, to some extent anyway), but a lot of it is (in my opinion):
1. Belief that it can and will happen.
2. Having your work out there and in the right place to begin with.
3. Staying true to your own work and identity rather than trying to copy someone else’s.
Amongst other things as there definitely is no secret formula to so-called ‘success’.
Another thing to remember, and I know people say this a lot, but it really is so true and there are so many examples out there, that it only takes one person, who happens to be the ‘right’ person, to see your work, which is exactly what happened in my case. In many instances, some people’s lives have changed in one moment, by one person. Not to be dramatic, but actually my life has changed, mainly in that I chased a dream and made it come true. I don’t want to go on fuelling false hopes and dreams: do not be fooled A LOT of hard work goes on behind the scenes of anyone who gets these ‘big breaks’, or whatever you would like to call them. But my point is, it does happen, and if you really want it to, I believe it will. But as I said in my previous post, you can’t rush these things and often you have to do your part- put in the hard work and hours-, and let your path take it’s course in the time/way it is supposed to.
I could go into a lot more detail about The Collection yet I realise I have already had your attention long enough, so thank you so much for reading and for your time! I hope you feel inspired, motivated or uplifted in some way!
And on a final note, incase it wasn’t clear, thank you ‘Marks and Spencer’ (and everyone involved in producing the collection) for taking a chance on me and my work, I hope I didn’t disappoint 😉
Once again, feel free to get in touch – email@example.com
See the whole Holly Sharpe for Limited Collection here and in Marks and Spencer’s stores nationwide.