By Jolyn GC
My name is Jolyn GC and I am a modern and contemporary portrait artist, curator, and co-founder of a Seattle arts-based tech startup, Entarupt, Inc., who utilizes my gaze as a contemporary Black woman to integrate mixed media and technology highlighting and transforming the Black experience.
Last year I made a conscious choice to make my theme, “Bold Requests.” This meant that I would not let anything stop me. I would be undaunted, unbothered, and unstoppable when it came to my vision of creating a more inclusive art world.
I told my cousin, the Universe, what the deal was. The following is an official transcript of our conversation:
Me: Hey, cousin Universe! This year the plan is to be unstoppable.
Universe: Finally! This is what I’ve wanted for you all along.
Me: That’s it?
Universe: Yes. Now that I know you are ready to be bold, I’ll put the challenges I was saving for others in front of you. This way you can practice being unstoppable by not letting things in front of you get in your way..
It was one of those classic examples of being careful for what you ask for. I loved the idea of being bold but was not sure exactly what that entailed. You hear way more no’s when you’re being bold than when you are playing it safe. That’s the point though. You are stretched outside of your comfort zone and let’s be honest, that’s where all of the good stuff is anyway.
I’m much more cozy in the tech world but there was a time when it definitely felt way outside of my comfort zone. Who did I think I was barging into the tech space? A Black woman with a law and art background and absolutely no tech experience. I had to boldly insert myself in places and spaces where I would be the only one who looked like me. I was up for the challenge. Technology was the perfect place to be bold and unstoppable.
When I was seeking funding for my mobile app idea that I just knew would change the art world, I was told “no”, nine times before I heard a yes. Every time I walked into a meeting it was as if the previous no had no bearing on the present opportunity before me. When I finally did hear a yes, it was the best feeling in the world. I think my chest puffed up to three times the size as it filled with courage and perseverance.
I enrolled in Landmark Education’s Self Expression and Leadership Program. One of our weekly assignments were to practice making bold requests. I learned how to craft requests so bold that it would be virtually impossible to say no. Can you imagine being the kind of person, people only say yes to? That is who I was becoming. That is who I am today.
The Universe kept putting me into situations that grew my boldness and made me resilient in the face of rejections which can be difficult, but I just didn’t let that stop me. I boldly pushed forward and found my way back and a yes was soon to follow.
Now that a whole year of boldness has embedded itself in my life. This year the Universe and I are conspiring to develop what it means to be a global curator. As I navigate this space between art and technology, I am realizing how much team plays into building a global dream. Linking up with like minds that are just as bold if not bolder is the key to taking things to the next level.
I will continue to practice making bold requests, listen to bold stories, and be inspired by other women as they share their brand of bold. What is your particular brand of boldness? What risks are you taking? What Bold requests are you making in 2019?
Image credit: Cynthia Hartwig