original oil painting (SOLD)
Economic recovery, my ass…it’s more like “it’s still really crappy out there, but just a little less crappy for some of you but not all of you.”
I’ve been struggling with the current conditions of the economy for two years now. The art just isn’t selling like it used too, and I’ve grown to understand that I was depending on sales to feed the flames of my creativity. Go without sales as a full-time artist, for any length of time, and you start questioning your value, your work, your message. But all that is only true if I am tied to the act of selling work to personally evaluate my enthusiasm for creating art. In short, my opinion is the only value based opinion, of what I am doing that counts. What art critics, patrons or the public think of my work isn’t essential to the act of creation. Judgment and comparison will make my work suck and more importantly totally fuck up my brain and muse. So, I’ve discovered, that being at a lower rate of sales has hit me in the old confidence department. When I was selling as fast as I could paint (for years on end) I unknowingly became dependant on that feedback to spur myself to greater heights. What I created was also driven by that feedback. Now that I am selling at a much reduced volume, I have had to find out what really makes me tick as an artist. This is earth shattering stuff, I tell you.
I have had to find ways to make high quality fine art with less money for supplies, and less time to create, because I had to go full-time with my day job. For the first time in 11 years, I am not a full-time, self-supporting artist. I am a full-time artist with a full-time day job. I used to go on and on when I was younger, about how I would never work a full-time job again, that I would eat beans and live under a bridge before I sold out to society EVER! Well, you can see how well that worked out, right? LOL
I obviously was miss-guided and naive.
Having less of everything has brought me to this place, where for the first time, I am really free. I can paint or create whatever I feel like doing. If it sells, great. If it does not, no big deal. I can say, do, express whatever I want too…just because I can. I have too. I don’t have a choice about being an artist, I am what I am. I do have a choice in how that directs and forms my life. If I depend on you all in the world to validate my work with words and purchases, then maybe I’m not really being true to me, the artist. I’m riding the gravy train, I’m going with the flow, I’m taking the path of least resistance….but am I risking myself? Am I learning, sharing or growing? I am really following my heart or just creating what sells? Sometimes they are not the same thing, you know.
I’ve been forced to take weeks on current works to finish them. I am used to 2-3 paintings or creations a week, and now I am lucky to finish that many in a month. It’s good, I’m not rushing to get to the next great idea, I’m learning all that I can from each experience. I feel like some voice is making its way to the front of my work and I like the feeling of being authentic. I like what the economy has done for my work and my self awareness. I like that the economy has made me redefine and reshape myself into what is happening today. I like that I am not stuck, that I am growing, that I am free. I like what struggling has done for my brain, body and spirit. I like what is happening, and that’s why I think the hell-in-a-handbasket economy has saved my art, and made me become a better me in the process.
Long live the struggle, smelting the gold from the stone, one drop at a time.
Raw & radiant,
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