I was always supported by my family when I decided that I was going to go to art school. I was accepted into the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, the oldest art school in the country, whose history included the likes of Thomas Eakins, Mary Cassatt and even the filmmaker David Lynch. At the time, I certainly had romantic notions about what it would mean to become an artist, complete the visions of a spacious studio and hours creating works of art. As I continued through school, my outlook would also change as I wondered whether the degree in art would become lucrative, and I would find myself asking what happens after art school. I had some successful exhibits of work and some commissions, but quickly realized that I would not be able to make a successful living being strictly a fine artist - I needed to do something else to supplement my income.
After a short foray into becoming an art historian and adjunct professor, I returned to art-making and also became a high school art teacher. Being a teacher allows me to share all I have learned from my own experience with students, and I enjoy it. The stability of my new career also permits me to continue to do a little bit of my own artwork during the school year, but the time off in the summer lets me recharge and focus on developing my own ideas and discover what other opportunities I can find.
Over the years I have painted murals, done calligraphy, and even some cake decorating. I have learned about developing my painting ability into a mural business and even taking being a teacher into giving art lessons, which I now do. I also had some hidden abilities that came out when I wanted to do some work in my home. I finished my basement for some more space, and I took the skills I learned from stretching canvases and preparing wood panels for painting into doing upholstery and the trim work in my home, like chair rail and crown molding. I have found that my background as an artist has given me the ability to plan and visualize, as well as the skills to do it creatively.
- Leonidas Moustakas