Friday, October 28, 2011

Everybody Loves A Starving Artist

...But nobody wants to feed them.  I've been thinking about what an friend said the other day.  Someone in a powerful position had said to her that "she was a 'different' kind of artist because she used both sides of her brain, rather than just the right side". I was amused, stunned, a bit confused and a little angry.  I don't even really know what she meant by that statement.  I'm quite sure it was based on ignorance and long held stereotypes of what artists are and are not.  Thinking back to my art school days,  I too had some pretty common myths about what artists should be doing.  Suffering was right up there at the top of the list, along with starving, being a drunken fool, etc...  Trust me,  I tried them all.  None of those things made me a better artist.  In fact, for the most part the works I made while drinking or suffering were absolute crap.  I dropped out of art school after two years to become a plumber.  It seemed like a good move at the time.  Especially since I did not want to become a teacher (surprise, I now LOVE teaching) or a graphic artist (which to me, somehow was 'less' of an artist). I think differently now.
So, a plumber and contractor I became.  And I did it for about 25 years solid, with very little art mixed in with it.  It was good, and then art called me back and I answered the call.
I'm not quite sure which side of my brain I used while having my own contracting business.  Left, right, both sides, what does it matter?  What is important is that I was able to 'stick with it'.  Putting my head down and just getting the job done.  Good lessons that I've been able to apply to my current art career.  And listen, those of you who refuse to be thinking creatively?  Please, step aside and let me move forward.  Artists HAVE REAL JOBS. Really.  In fact,  sometimes I think my job is harder because I have to make something up that didn't exist every single time I start a new artwork. The above is an example of that.  I worked on this yesterday because I'm trying to fulfill a themed group show at a gallery.  "After Dark" is the theme.  This is "2 Monkey Night".  It's an Ampersand Art scratchbord.  I hope the gallery likes it and I can sell it.  That's my reality.  Not only do I have to make stuff up and execute it well, I have to market it and hope someone likes it enough to buy it.  All in a days work for an artist.
Now granted, there are many artists who do fill those stereotypes quite well.  But, there are also a lot of plumbers, lawyers, doctors and every other profession who fit it too. So please, understand when I roll my eyes, or appear less than appreciative of your assessment of my chosen vocation.  You just have no idea.

No comments: