I recently attended the Art Unraveled art retreat (see a couple blogs earlier) and while I had a wonderful time, there were many stories of the financial difficulties people are going through. Things I heard: one instructor who had to go back to a day job in order to make ends meet, another instructor who was very nervous their classes weren’t filling and several instructors who could not continue doing what they do without the financial support of a significant other. I also heard a painful story from one artist whose work was not only being copied and sold by another artist but taught as a workshop depriving her of substantial income. For some reason people were very open about what would normally be a very private matter.
And then earlier today I listened to a great podcast interview of Thomas Mann by Ricë Freeman Zachery. Tom is a metalsmith, teacher and cook; a “Renaissance Man” is how Ricë described him and I totally agree. In the interview Tom talks about his career and all the new things he has planned for the future. He is enthusiastic, super busy and is having a great year artistically but just not financially. We all know the recession has been tough for creative people but to hear someone like Tom talk about it is refreshingly honest.
Typically we don’t like to discuss unpleasant things and who wants to read a blog where someone is always complaining. But I find the other extreme equally undesirable to read about….you know what I mean…. the stories about the sold out classes, the books being published, the products being marketed, the travel to exotic places, etc. that can make you as an artist feel very inadequate and alone.
I sincerely hope that these artists do live these incredible lives but for most of us life is not always amazing nor is it always tragic. It’s someplace more in the middle, with some highs and lows thrown in there to spice things up. Sometimes we just need to be reminded of that, we’re still talented, we still have what it takes, and we're not alone, there are lots of us out there….