VoyageKC: Life & Work with Elijah Loving of Independence

Today we’d like to introduce you to Elijah Loving.

Hi Elijah, thanks for joining us today. We’d love for you to start by introducing yourself.
I’m happy to say I’m an Illustrator and Comic Artist, and it’s been quite the adventure. I started doing what everyone tells you to do after High School, go to college. At my M.A. Art show, my grandfather came and took one look at my fancy abstract art and said, “These are interesting, but you should do comics.” I thought he was nuts, but as life journeyed on, I realized how the sharing of stories is an important part of our connection to our ancestors. Stories define us. After realizing that my grandfather was right, regardless of the art, I was making, and I was trying to place a story within that art. Sometimes when we’re younger, we don’t want to accept the wisdom of our mentors.

We all face challenges, but looking back, would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
As with most creatives, it has not been a smooth road. Much to the chagrin of my grade school English teachers, I struggled with reading and writing and found that I would instead show the story through images and Art. So you could say all my essays were picture books. It worked out when I was in 6th grade, I was commissioned to create and illustrate a giant book for a kindergarten group, and it was featured in the local newspaper.

However, I admit I struggled through High School, barely graduating with a school counselor telling my parents I wasn’t capable enough for college. Luckily I am blessed with parents who knew better and with my only option at the time to learn more, and I trudged through undergrad. A part of Joseph Campbell’s ‘Hero’s Journey’ that I went through was the painful realization that I had to completely re-learn how to read. It was one of my most difficult journeys but the most ‘worth it’ I embarked on.

I didn’t go to college to be an artist, and I found myself sitting in Accounting Theory Class pouring over meaningless spreadsheets, thinking, “What am I doing here?!” I walked out and declared Art as my major that day. It wasn’t until graduate school, when I fell into teaching extra classes, that I discovered that I loved not just Art but also teaching. In my past, I’ve had both the best and the worst of teachers, as you can imagine, and I wanted to add to the opportunities for all students, no matter their background. My biggest struggle through all of this has been doubting and how I have had to start overtime and again to face this struggle head-on. I’ve since taught at universities and in the professional setting, and am now wrapping up my M.F.A. and have founded my own company: Tikvah inc.

Consider contributing to help us keep sharing more content like this. Our goal is 1) to share relevant and uplifting news to artists, 2) to share my ‘how tos’ around how I do what I do for independent artists no matter where you are on your journey, and 3) to simply share my quirky interests and what motivates my creativity. Thank you for your support, we couldn’t do this without you!