Monday, June 6, 2011

Personal (Not-so?) Artsy Thoughts...

So it's been awhile since I've been real with you all - to sit down to talk to you about what's going down in my head - to maybe help a fellow artist or a not so causal "hey, you're not alone" speech. I'm mostly thinking negative as most artsy minded folk tend to do. As Amanda Palmer (singer) puts it, I am being visited almost nightly by the "Fraud Police." Boomers know this as the "impostor syndrome". The feelings of "what the hell am I doing?" to "I am wasting my time" topic cycles you have with yourself. Especially with the way the economy is, it's forcing a sink and swim mindset.

Link is here for those who have no idea what I'm talking about.

I am also visited by envy and depression. My thoughts range from "wow, you're old (28 - yes, I know the older crowd will fight me on this) and done nothing (successful)", "you're a female and the market is male dominated", "you need to be thin and attractive (it's why no one will hire you)", to my favorite "quit, you wasted this much time - get a real job". Being broke is more then not cool. It's painfully crippling. Things as simple as making tour dates, flying to an exhibition opening, submitting to festivals or shipping your work is just not doable. I am thankful and grateful to say I have a roof over my head, food, and bills are paid. No collectors are banging down my door or calling me through the night. BTW I have been there as a child growing up with "the fear of someone coming to take your house away", so I make it my business never to be like that again.

So things can be much worse but when I see my husband/friends doing cool things, it makes me want to cry. People have told me do "kickstarter" for "YZ". Well, what if X amount of days are up and you don't meet the quota? Well that Project YZ doesn't get done/funded that's what ... and it's kinda humbling. Makes you feel "no one cares" or is "interested". So what is an artist to do?

Well, what I have been doing, and has helped me greatly, is freelancing while looking for work (PT/FT). This looks good on my resume, improves the portfolio/demo reel and keeps you from becoming lazy or looking like you're doing nothing. Usually I get clients through networking or some website or other.

Recently, I've been volunteering in my community offering art classes since my MFA allows me to do so. So far, I've been offered two leads and a freelance position. Pro bono / bartering works too! Sweet. Little Victories. I am enjoying it tremendously. Made some friends, it's teaching me how to communicate to many different levels of people and keeping my skills fresh.

I keep reminding myself, these victories vs the defeats. I keep pushing myself. Mostly it's my mother's voice in my head that keeps pushing me but whatever works. So I paint and good things happen. Doors open. I need to keep reminding myself this. Why I forget, I'll never know.

Recently my brand new computer died. I just had it replaced like 5-6 months ago by Apple (free). I am freaking out because a) it's brand new b) oh no not again c) I'm broke (ya I'm covered but still) and can't afford to replace anything. I am looking into getting a good accountant and really budget since this cannot continue (H&R Block you suck blood) and would like a buffer in case of anything. I am trying to be a responsible artist.

But what about the other negative voices I mentioned? Sometimes when they appear, I 'll like to visualize that they are zombies (so a "Fuck you/off" won't always work) since they do keep coming back. You need a plastic toy gun labeled "Confidence" (or whatever works for you) for this exercise. I came up with this after watching Jason play Portal 2 (and my mom - she shoots imaginary "birds of gloom" or people's insults targeted at her with her hand in the gun gesture going "pew pew") if you are wondering. Yes, I know there's no zombies in it. Just listen and follow me on this. Take a pillow or victim of choice and place at below eye level and start having a conversation with said item. Make sure no one is around to disturb you or people will think you're bonkers. Jason has walked in on me and slowly walked out on several occasions.

Let the pillow speak. It usually sounds a bit like GladOS or Cave Johnson for me.

"You're old, ugly, fat, etc."

"I'm young, clean, healthy and everything else is superficial and uncontrollable. Next."

"But you're..."

Shoot the pillow before it gets a word out.

"I said, "NEXT."

By the time you get to the end of your list, you'll feel better and if not ... well you'll need a new pillow so it's a great excuse to go shopping.

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