For some time now, I’ve been contemplating the validity of the work I do, namely the art. I am by no means the most aggressive or prolific artist, and I go through these phases of being highly motivated and totally stagnant. I blame it on my constant need to do new things, getting bored all the time. That’s my cross to bear.
Another side to things is having this overwhelming yearn to have a lifestyle where I can leave my day job and be a real full time artist. However, that is a very, very massive obstacle because of the amount of money I would need to make in order to leave the desk job. There’s just no two-ways about it; I would need to make way more doing art than I am making at the job in order to keep the standard of living for my family.
The problem with needing to put forth that much effort into my art in order to make that kind of money, sacrifices need to happen elsewhere. I can’t sacrifice the day job yet because it’s the guaranteed paycheck, and I can’t ask my wife to carry the burden more than she already does. The only thing left to sacrifice would be the family time.
This past weekend, I got to spend a lot of quality time with my wife, my boy and some good friends. By the end of Sunday, it became pretty clear that I never want to sacrifice my family for the art. I love art, but I love my family 100 times more, and I would sooner toss my acrylics in the trash than ever miss an opportunity to hang out with my son, even if it is just sitting on the couch watching Blues Clues.
Friends in Low Places
Something I’ve discovered since being more active in the handmade art set is that very, very few people make a good living doing it. I have numerous friends and acquaintances that work for themselves, doing what they love, but seem to work harder now than they ever did as wage slaves in the daily grind of the corporate world.
I’m sure it’s been this way since the dawn of the art world, but why is it that the time and energy that we put into our craft is so undervalued by the masses, that we must struggle to eek out a living in our creative pursuits. There has to be a better way.
Help Me, Help You
Since as far back as I can remember, I’ve always tried to be helpful with friends and family, using what skills I’ve learned to help others with their personal projects. Most of the time, that helps comes in the form of graphic arts, but occasionally business and marketing oriented as well. I recently started assisting a young family member make her first steps into a modeling career. I really have nothing to gain from it, except to see her succeed and become something bigger and better than the current future that lies before her. I enjoy helping her, and even though I’ve never managed a model longer than a half-day shoot, I hope that I can instill a good work ethic and strong, personal value in her. I also want her to be a success, but mostly I want her to know that she has way more possibilities than she previously assumed.
As I’ve spent the last week dwelling on this, I realize that my original intent for Fresh Rag was to do the same for others; help them build their creative businesses into something more than just a shop on Etsy working their ass off to sell a few prints a month. In complete fairness, that’s where I’m at in my art career, and I think it can be better, both for me and other.
I guess what I’m saying is that I’m here to help. I’m not sure how I can help yet, but I’ll do what I can. I’m also going to start digging deeper into the meaning of “success” in art, and when I find them, bring some nuggets of wisdom to you. Not sure how that will manifest itself just yet, but that’s my goal, my desire. We lift each other up, right?
Art: Frenetic #1 – David Conrey