At the time of change it can feel uncomfortable or even hurt a bit, but it is only when you fully embrace your new life that the blessing of the transformation can truly be felt. For Philadelphia artist, Yolanda Ward, even though the change from her nine to five to following her dream was forced upon her, by fully embracing her transformation, she is able to live the life of her dreams.

I accidentally followed my path

Yolanda always knew art would be apart of her life in some capacity. It was seeing a woman’s drawing in a sketchbook that would forever effect her life. It was in that moment that she found her purpose. But even though she found her purpose, she was not immediately tossed into it. “I accidentally followed my path,” said Yolanda. “I went to school and I dibbled and dabbled in [art] and when I came out of school, I had some work that I did while I was in one of the workshops. One of the companies just happened to see the work and they wanted me to come work for them.” This job would lead Yolanda to the company where she would move up to eventually become the creative director and work for 25 years, Advanta. Although doing this job took Yolanda away from her art studio and she had to deal with the politics of Corporate America. Yolanda made the best out of the situation and used her creativity to help her with the positions she held and also to satisfy her need for a creative outlet. “I was always trying to interject my art into the work at all times, because that’s what I did, that’s what was a part of me, even though [the company] was not dealing in a fine art [business],”said Yolanda.

There’s something speaking to you all the time, even though life may not allow you to take the time to think about it, or to hear it, it is speaking to you all the time

But little did Yolanda know that after 25 years of working for Advanta, she would have the rug pulled from under her and be forced to start something new when the company closed due to the financial crash of the late 2000’s. “My beginning came after that moment,” said Yolanda. “The transition [came] that I didn’t know I was going to go through.” Even though being out of work was an adjustment for Yolanda, it allowed her the time she needed to listen to the small voice of the universe that told her what she should do next. “There’s something speaking to you all the time, even though life may not allow you to take the time to think about it, or to hear it, it is speaking to you all the time,” said Yolanda. Because of this, Yolanda was able to let go of her fear and risk everything to do her art full-time. “Not going back into a corporate or company environment and coming into my studio space to work everyday meant I would have to risk whatever finances I had to this time,” said Yolanda.

I got a pink slip and turned it into paper art

The risk Yolanda took seems to be paying off. She has her own jewelry line called, Knot-D-End. She had her very first art show at the African American History Museum in Philadelphia, and is showcasing some of her jewelry and art at the Art of It Gallery in Jenkintown, Pa. Even though Yolanda sculps, paints and any other creative endeavor, she considers herself a collage artist because her paintings and jewelry either incorporate paper or are entirely made of paper. Coming full circle, Yolanda took what could have been a negative situation, and embraced her transformation to become something better. “When it comes to taking risks and living your dream, you just never know where it is,” said Yolanda. It’s right there waiting for you to step forward. I got a pink slip and turned it into paper art.”

For more on Yolanda Ward and her art follow her on Instagram @ywardart and visit her website www.ywardart.com.