Monday, March 14, 2011
For eighty thousand USD, this preliminary space plan of a kitchen remodel, copied onto 8 1/2" x 11 copy paper,-- premier, but not acid free--brought smiles allweekend long.
This is why I hold out for my day job. It pays better than selling my art. And I still get to paint what I want when I want--not what the crowd demands.
Artistic freedom has always been something I've held on to dearly. The thought of possibly losing it by going into the business of art always held me back. As much as I would have loved, would still love, to have been a famous artist, an artist recorded in the art history books for young artists to admire and emulate, I never wanted to play the Famous Artist Game of over-the-top PR--like having yourself shot standing outside Studio 54 (Warhol)--or signing reams of print paper, before the images were even printed on them and with no plans to destroying the plate after so many were made, (Dali). I wanted to keep my art separate from the rat-race business of fine-art-for-fame-and-bucks.
I never wanted to teach art in a classroom either--or sit in a booth at art fairs with my bin of drawings all nicely matted and a few larger pieces framed and hung about the tent waiting for hours for people to stop by and notice. I didn't want to have to schlep the stuff for miles to sell or not sell depending on the weather. I've always wanted to keep my art to myself and separate from how I made a living.
I wanted a job that was art related but paid. Spacial design and construction did just that. I am a designer who works to support her artistic habit. My dad would have approved whole heartedly. He always worried I would run off and "live in a garret" and starve for my art. When he said it, I had to look "garret" up in the dictionary. When I saw synonym "attic," I thought, "No way, not me." I liked the thread count in my mom's sheets too much.
This last year plus, when the housing market went to hell with the banks and any businesses connected to it did also, I was nearly jobless as a designer. And I did consider art as a possible livelihood. I started the blog, investigated PayPal and got a shop on Etsy's thinking that maybe I could make some money this way? But I never hung anything in my shop. I couldn't commit. I'm a Capricorn; I'm stubborn. I like designing residential spaces. I'm good at it. I wanted my profession back. I've been a little pouty about it over the last year and a little. My pout went out the door this weekend when the check came in.
Now, one very nice sale does not mean I'm back in full time business as a designer--nor that the economy is booming again. All it means is that there is a stirring out there, a coming to life that I find very hopeful--hopeful enough where I got a bottle of champagne out of the fridge yesterday morning and a couple of flutes. I poured and Honey and I toasted the past week that had this sale PLUS THREE OTHERS! (Honey does his share). This surge could be brief, but it really has lifted my spirits. I feel energized. And I'm in love all over again with my T square, right angle, compass and protractor. My joy will show in the studio as well. Winter Woods may not be as bleak now that I'm feeling upbeat. How good or bad that painting turns out doesn't matter the artist isn't dependent on it. A stress has been lifted.
Having a profession aside from art, enriches the art experience. The freedom from business concerns, the diversity of two occupations is stimulating. With a head not weighted down by worries over paying bills from the sale of the product, the artist is free to paint with no strings, no sweat, no cares if anybody likes the output or not. With a care-less attitude, her price is the price. Take it, or leave it. That's a luxury I do not have in the design business.
Willem de Kooning's day job was house painter. Sometimes I wonder if he would have lived up to my expectations on a design/build job? Would he have showed up on time? Would be have brought along enough drop cloths? Would he not smoke on the client's driveway and put his butts out in her bushes? Would he show the client the proper respect? I like to think he would. He was my hero. I wonder if he would understand my attitude? Do you? Is an artist an artist if they keep their art separate from their livelihood?