I suppose an update is in order since I haven't written a post since October. Though this is the first time I have been even a little bit motivated to do an update and I think that’s sad, don't you? Truth is I think I have fallen out of love with art over the last few months.
The truths of being an artist: sometimes, it really sucks. Worrying about money is one of the worst things. It’s difficult when your income relies on so many factors beyond your control. Will people actually show up to this event? Will this gallery pay me on time? How many people will say incredibly rude things to me at this show just because they feel like they can?
Let me tell you, it’s really hard to care about making work after you lose money at three shows in a row. There is something very deflating about that. It’s hard to get excited about making new work when in the back of your mind you are wondering “will people actually want to buy this?” When even a little part of you thinks the answer is no, production stops.
I saw this web comic last week (by artist Lauren Purje) and it really resonated with me and it’s really fitting with this post:
I still get that itch to create, but lately I could care less about making anything that remotely resembles jewellery. In an effort to make something, I have taken to crocheting. I’m almost embarrassed to admit how much I have crocheted since the beginning of January. In that time I have finished a (giant) blanket I started in the summer, started and finished a completely new blanket, two scarves and a little storage basket – which could also be used as a really ugly hat.
Next week I start a “real job” and I am actually really excited about it. It’s a five month contract position in an office and it will be the longest I will have had a steady paycheque since 2004. That’s a decade. This is something I have considered for a while now. It was actually a move I was prepared to make in August after a less than stellar summer. I had some amazing opportunities in the fall, namely a semester working back at Sheridan, but all that seemed to do was prolong this decision. I’m pretty lucky to have gotten this job in a job market that is pretty dismal. Thank goodness for previous office experience too.
It’s difficult when people don’t take what you do seriously. “Oh, you’re an artist? So umm… what do you do all day?” My example for today: After I am done this post I am going to do a mock setup of my booth at One of a Kind in my basement so I can take measurements for something I need made for my display and then do a bunch of drawings until I have the winning design that I will use. After that who knows, I’ll have to check my list of about 50 things that need to happen before the show.
I think there is an assumption that if someone is not necessarily making tons of money that they are also not working hard enough. I once dated a guy who thought exactly that and wasn't afraid to tell me so. People like this are quick to offer unsolicited advice, which leads to my least favourite sentence in the world: “you know what you should do….”
You are probably wondering if I am quitting art altogether. The answer is no, but I need to take a few steps back. I am still planning on doing some shows but being gainfully employed for now will allow me to be much pickier with the shows I do participate in. Hopefully without the pressure and anxiety of trying to make a living just from making art I will be able to fall back in love with it again.
With the Spring One of a Kind show coming up in about a month, you might see how a lack of enthusiasm would be a major problem. It is slowly starting to come back though, largely due to the fact that all of my eggs are no longer in one basket. Over the past couple of days especially I have found some renewed motivation and production has resumed. If you want to come to the One of a Kind show and check out what I have been doing I would love to see you.
Do I like talking about these things? No. Do I think it’s important to talk about them anyway? Yes. Was it difficult for me to write so honestly? Absolutely, but it would have been even harder for me to write a fake flowery and insincere post about how beside myself excited I was for a show. Things are not always sunshine and rainbows in this world and I am not going to sugar coat that. But I am lucky to have the support of people who love me.