Navigating Life's Waves: My Journey into Art

Hello everyone, 

I want to share with you an intimate and deeply personal journey that shaped my life and career in ways I never imagined. For close to 30 years, I was immersed in the world of project and portfolio management, working primarily within the insurance industry and the public sector. My expertise also extended to all three levels of government, where I was responsible for comprehensive portfolio planning. A challenging and rewarding career, I believe I carved a niche for myself as a steadfast PMO Manager, guiding and coordinating complex projects to successful completion. 

However, parallel to my official work, a seed was sprouting. I started Maritime Vintage on the side, a venture that soon gained momentum. Much like Stitch Fix, Maritime Vintage catered to a niche clientele interested in home decor. We curated unique and tasteful pieces, injecting personality and charm into our customers' living spaces. It was a fulfilling endeavor, fueling my creative side while satisfying the latent entrepreneurial spirit within me. 

Then came 2020, a year that would reshape global dynamics and significantly impact Maritime Vintage. The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic wreaked havoc on our supply chains, and the business model we once knew became untenable. However, every cloud has a silver lining. Necessity, they say, is the mother of invention. With the traditional routes disrupted, we pivoted Maritime Vintage into a web 3.0 Art Gallery, embracing digital transformation and expanding our reach. 

But life had yet another twist in store. Around the same time, I was diagnosed with a severe chronic pain condition that led to debilitating migraines. The episodes were so intense they left me incapacitated for most parts of the day. This unforeseen health crisis forced me to suspend many of our planned services and temporarily mothball Maritime Vintage, shelving our inventory for an unforeseeable future. 

As you navigate through life, there will inevitably be stormy seas that demand your undivided attention and a course correction. For me, those rough waters came in the form of my chronic pain condition. The debilitating migraines became an unexpected anchor, causing me to slow down, reassess, and ultimately hit the pause button on an endeavour very close to my heart – Maritime Vintage. 

However, chronic pain is not a condition that allows for divided attention. It necessitated significant lifestyle changes and a step back from several professional responsibilities. While the operations of Maritime Vintage have been put on hold for the time being, it's important to remember that this is a pause, not a full stop. 

As I step back to focus on my health and recovery, Maritime Vintage remains tucked away safely, our inventory waiting patiently for the day when we can once again share our love for unique and tasteful home decor with you. My family, my staunchest supporters, have been instrumental in maintaining the basic infrastructure of Maritime Vintage in place, ready to set sail again when the time is right. 

In the meantime, I have taken up painting to manage my pain better and have found solace in creating art. This transition to Art By Blaise has not only been a therapeutic journey but also an unexpected evolution of my creative expression. I look forward to sharing this journey with you. 

Remember, every pause is an opportunity to reflect, recuperate, and eventually return stronger. I am on that journey, and I am optimistic. Maritime Vintage might be on pause, but its spirit continues to inspire me every day as I navigate my path to recovery and creativity. Stay tuned, for the best is yet to come. 

It was a challenging period, but I was fortunate to have the unwavering support of my family. My wife and kids stepped up, helping me maintain the basic infrastructure of Maritime Vintage in place while I grappled with my health issues. Consequently, I had to take Long Term Disability leave from my role as a Portfolio Manager, a decision that was both necessary and heartbreaking. 

The chronic pain condition was, and still is, a significant obstacle, but it also paved the way for a new avenue – art. I found solace and therapeutic relief in painting, something I had never envisioned. As I navigated the murky waters of chronic pain, art eerged as a lighthouse, guiding me through the darkest hours. This unexpected discovery led to a shift in my online persona. I introduced myself to the world as Art By Blaise, a new identity carved out from the crucible of personal and professional challenges. 

Today, as I continue my healing process, I am both humbled and grateful. Life has dealt me a series of unexpected cards, some devastating, some enlightening. But it's through these experiences that I have evolved and grown, transforming Maritime Vintage, and myself in the process. I hope my journey can inspire others to persevere through their challenges and discover new facets of themselves along the way. After all, it's not the destination, but the journey that shapes us. 

Blaise Gillis

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