26 to 26 | E

26 to 26 project | EE, for Evolution. Over the last year or so, I've seen a real, tangible evolution in my work, and it's finally heading in a direction that makes me feel excited. The most exciting thing about it is that it's not at all what I thought it would be, and my artistic interests today are totally different than they were a year ago. It has been a tremendous learning experience, working and reworking pieces, experimenting and researching. It's still a long road to travel, but I'm happy that I've been able to at least get to this point. This evolution has inspired so many different project ideas that I will begin sharing over the next few months and my only regret is that there are not enough hours in the day to follow up on all the projects I have brewing in my head.

26 to 26 | D

26 to 26 project | D D, for dreams.

We are all presented with difficult decisions in our adult lives, there's no question about it. There are so many paths to choose to attain the life we want. And while no decision has come easy these days, I've felt more comfortable surrendering to my dreams, no matter how silly or unattainable they seem. At this point, I'm not really sure how else to live my life, and I no longer feel guilty about that. In an economy where nothing is stable, there's really nothing to lose by choosing a path lead by passion. I've also taken comfort in friendships with people who are also lead by their dreams: of acting, traveling, starting life in a new city, starting their own businesses. With such limited time to live, why on Earth would we ever follow anything other than the things we absolutely love?

26 to 26 | C

26 to 26 Project | C by Bryna Shields
26 to 26 Project | C by Bryna Shields

C, for Confidence. Confidence in my work and value as an artist is something I have always struggled with. It means the confidence to get your work out there, and the confidence to take the heat if your idea falls flat on its face. In the art world, that's always a possibility. As I shift into my late 20s, I've noticed how much more confident I feel in the decisions I make. There's a sureness present that hasn't always been there. Even when I'm not totally sure I'm making the right decision, that confidence always pushes me to do it anyway, to see what happens. It's been pretty liberating to feel ok taking so many risks, but it's only because I can trust myself to figure it out if things go awry. These days, I'm more comfortable to try a different course. You can't always set your heart on something, you just have to be fluid in your choices, and be ready to leap into a new direction at a moments' notice.

26 to 26 | B

26 to 26 Project | B
26 to 26 Project | B

B, for beginnings.

There have been quite a lot of new beginnings in my life over the last year. The most notable and exciting being the beginning of my life as a full time freelancer. With that has come the beginning of a lot of new projects, a new vision for my work, and a higher standard to hold myself to. I love new beginnings, even though often that means having to let go of something in its place. I love the anticipation of possibility, the process of building out a new idea, and of course all that daydreaming that sneaks into your head when something new comes into your life. The career I've been dreaming of for years now is just really beginning, and I cannot wait to see what's next.

26 to 26 / A

Today marks 26 days until my 26th birthday, and it felt like the perfect excuse to start a quick lettering project. So, for the next 26 days I will use different techniques and materials to create every letter of the alphabet, along with a short written reflection from the last year to go along with it. So...

A, for aspirations. There are so many things I've wanted to pursue over the last few years that sometimes I feel like I cannot keep up with myself. It's not very conducive to following through with projects or ideas, and it's tough because I am genuinely interested in so many different pursuits. But in the last year I've really felt a shift within myself, a stronger effort to narrow things down, and focus my efforts on just a few things. This newfound focus feels great, and while I'm still fighting that instinct to do a million things, I definitely feel like I'm headed in the right direction. I've realized that it's great to have a lot of aspirations, but it's crucial to narrow things down so that some of them have the potential to come true. Saying no can be just as powerful as saying yes.