Tug-of-war: Corporate versus art lifestyle

As you know, The Creative Folks (TCF) is dedicated to Atlanta and looking at all it does to inspire us. We met up with Yang Cuevo from Chicago over her amazing paper arts, especially her Georgia piece. Cuevo lived in the Philippines for most of her life and moved to Chicago with her husband, who showed her the art and culture of the city.

She, as a workaholic, expressed this sense of “being trapped” and stressed out in the corporate world. She admits that if she hadn’t met her husband, who had an appreciation for art and music, she would’ve never been freed from her corporate life.

Taking the Risk

Cuevo’s transition from a corporate position to a creative career was obviously not an easy journey and involved risks that many creatives today are afraid to take. Currently, Cuevo works from home as an artist on Etsy and as a volunteer DJ for a local radio station.

Like many creatives before her, her relatives were against this artistic and musical lifestyle, even though she’s always been passionate about art. She knew that transferring from a corporate job to a freelance career would be a huge risk. It’d leave her husband as the only one to bring in a steady income.

She’s found herself in a bind after leaving the corporate world, however. She’s tempted to go back to the corporate life because of what it provides: stability and clear-cut goals. The art lifestyle is a lot more flexible and freeing, but unpredictable. Before leaving her corporate job, she managed to save up enough funds to fuel her passions. Her biggest piece of advice is to “save, then pursue your risk.”

Check out Cuevo’s Instagram for all things aesthetics!

Why Do You Do What You Do?

Cuevo learned paper-cutting in the Philippines and saw it produce a steady income (even if it wasn’t a lot) every month. She fell in love with the craft, despite the small income, and learned how to make it work for her.

“[It’s rewarding] to see that people think my art is worth paying for,” she said as she explained the importance of not forcing yourself to do art solely for the money. Instead, you should learn to build up your skill sets first rather than blindly diving into different fields.

Cuevo admits that corporate life is not terrible; as mentioned, she’s a workaholic. She had some great corporate jobs, great pays, bad jobs, low pays, and all the experiences in between. A corporate job’s stability is what made it enticing for her, but she enjoys the stress-free environment that working from home offers.

She stopped worrying about what others thought of her lifestyle and just lived it instead, developing a huge in-house support as she went.

Having a Good Support System

TCF has covered this section many times in our past stories, explaining how support systems, whether family or friends, serve as a great motivation for most small, art business owners.

For Cuevo, it’s no different as she depends on her husband to be that source of motivation. “I would’ve lost all the confidence,” she said when talking about how her corporate job stripped away her creativity. Having her husband by her side for support helped her maintain that confidence and creativity, as all support systems should.

Cuevo‘s journey from the Philippines to another city of art, Chicago, serves as a reminder to us all as creatives. Even though Cuevo hasn’t become a millionaire off her work, she’s happy because she took the important precautionary steps before jumping into her art. While corporate work is stressful, it has a plus side, and it shouldn’t always be looked upon as “evil.” Additionally, understanding the size of a risk before you take it is imperative. Remember, don’t jump off a cliff without having some type of safety net underneath.

That’s a worthy lesson creatives, keep hustling!

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