ANDREW TERRY PASIEKA
I was born in Toronto, but came back to live out East for good, after growing up an only child of eastern European parents in Alberta. A first generation Canadian, a sports nut and hockey fanatic, with no arts background on either side of his parentage. I was raised in a micro-culture that viewed the arts as outlets for hobbies, but not a real profession.
Something resembling an artistic flare emerged in my teens, but was my new found interest in music a gift or just a passing fad?
They say true love never dies, and if this was my gift, it got buried under the weight of post-secondary education (three degrees). They kept me focused on business. Despite it all, I still had the propensity to get a certificate for journalism. You see, I had been told by more than one teacher while growing up that I was a natural writer. That fire was never quenched.
They also say that life begins at forty, and it was in the 1990s that the artist was finally awakened. I fully immersed myself in writing, and then in semi-professional theater. By 2001, I had been part of almost 90 productions as an actor, director and/or producer, wrote a dozen original scripts, and wrote 44 freelance articles in the field of arts and entertainment. Prominent among the publishers were Canada’s national newspaper, The Globe & Mail, and Canada’s national music trade magazine during that decade, The Record. During that decade I flirted with the idea of being a model on the side, and did some exploratory photo shoots.
Despite all the activity artistically, my personal and professional life were challenged. Consequently, I left Toronto and moved to Mississauga in 2002, more to repackage myself than anything else.
I moved into the area of education, a interest I inherited from my mother, spending three years with the Dufferin-Peel Catholic School Board and then four years with a private career college. After a hiatus of seven years, I went back into theater and into writing. I had another seven productions over five years.
It was during this period that I learned the computer skills which serve me well today, and joined two social media platforms (Facebook and Linked In). I learned what networking was all about. New relationships were formed in my new surroundings, many fleeting, some substantial, and one permanent. A second wife when I always thought I would stop at one.
With the relationships came new ventures. More writing and now editing, first, as the head of Seventh House Publishing Arts, formed in March 2013, and then as Editor-in-Chief of SMJ Magazine, created in June 2013. The next step will be an expansion in 2016 from print media to multimedia, with the creation of SMJ Live!, a telejournal/TV version of the magazine. There are numerous other opportunities.
I realize that I have come to the crossroads of opportunities somewhat late in life. However, there is a silver lining.
The highs of inspiration and creation, matched by the lows of procrastination and rejection, are emotions that every artist experiences. I have the advantage, being the ‘new’ age forty, of imparting some hard lessons to all those aspiring artists who have ever had a dream, whether they be twenty, thirty, or the ‘old’ forty. In all of it I will say it is worth pursuing that gift; it makes sense to hold on to that dream.
Arts can teach business so much about having an unswerving belief in one’s abilities and working constantly in crisis. However, business can teach arts so much about leaving legacies rather than relying on fame and fortune. Even still, the pursuit of the latter must be monetarily profitable, and not just about fans and followers.
Where I am now in life is a result of my life experiences in both arts and business. The route that my gift and talents have taken me was the journey I was supposed to have.