Run with it

If you love what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life.

Several months ago, my boss brought me into his office and said in so many words, “I think this project would be good for you. Run with it.” The project he was talking about was “Press in the Flesh,” a portrait series by local artist Max Collins. The project wasn’t just good for me, it was a blessing in disguise and a true eye-opener in terms of the direction I want my “professional” life to head in.

The idea for “Press in the Flesh” came about a few years ago at The University of Michigan when Max photographed writer and activist Tom Hayden, printed his portrait on top of his school’s paper, The Michigan Daily, and pasted it onto a plywood canvas. Since then, he has wanted to do the project on a larger scale to include all of the characters behind the production of a daily newspaper. Cue The Buffalo News, my current employer.

The original piece of writer/activist Tom Hayden. Portrait by Max Collins.
The original piece: writer/activist Tom Hayden. Portrait by Max Collins.

The past several months have been filled with days that feel much less like work and much more like what I’m supposed to be doing with my time and skill set. The success of last night’s opening reception for the gallery was the cherry on top of a great experience.

Thank you, thank you, thank you.
Thank you, thank you, thank you.

I could get into all of the responsibilities that I ended up overseeing and managing, but they’re practically irrelevant. It took so many people to make this show possible and I was blessed to interact with open-minded, flexible and cooperative individuals who, at the end of the day, really appreciated the project for the value and heart that it possesses.

Of course there were mishaps that some people will never know about. There was skepticism and doubt and maybe some of those feelings still exist in some people’s minds. And that’s okay; it’s inevitable. My measure of success for this project was weather or not Max was able to create work that resonated with others and conveyed the message that he wanted. And that’s just what he did. The work is beautiful and tells a story that is so timeless.

Max in the press room at The Buffalo News with one of the pieces of the collection.
Max in the press room at The Buffalo News with one of the pieces of the collection. Picture by Katie Costello.

I’m always trying to focus my efforts and my time on projects, people and events that simply make me happy. That seems like a really obvious statement, but sometimes it takes a lot of effort to make sure your priorities are ones that revolve around your happiness.

The past year and a half has felt like one giant learning curve in how to figure out the best way to place my happiness at the top of my priority list. But I have this gut feeling that I’m right on the brink of something wonderful and intrinsically fulfilling. Maybe i’m wrong, I really have no idea. But the road that I’m blindly walking down sure feels like it’s leading me to a beautiful place. 

Congratulations on a kick ass show, Max. And again, thank you to everyone who helped and supported an amazing collection of art.

Max and me at the opening reception. August 2nd, 2013.
Max and I at the opening reception. August 2nd, 2013.