Jan 5, 2009

Here's my situation . . .

I am slowly figuring things out, sort of, kind of, I think. As most of you know, I am still relatively new to blogworld and collage work - just started in August, and September really, with this big grandiose dream, I might add. And I eased myself in, didn't rush too much, but as soon as I shook off the beginner nerves , I started struggling with all kinds of things. I couldn't move fast enough then. I've been in and out of struggling for days . . . really weeks - bottomed out almost last week, then came back with some of my better, yet novice, pieces. Now, after a bad 24 hours I am questioning things again but I'm not bottomed out. Just really looking at the whole picture.

I am trying to find my niche in the world, my place, my importance. Some of you know that I recently left a $30,000/year job (it was a fluke and I paid a lot of dues to get there for a very easy no stress job) to pursue an art dream AND make a strategic move for my family (the family, of course, took presidence, art was a secondary perk). Now I have no income of my own, zilch . Did that change my importance? Am I less important now? So, I find myself putting this pressure on myself. HAVE to make something everyday, HAVE to post it, HAVE to list it for sale on Etsy, HAVE to get comments on flickr - CAN'T waste time, can't just be an at home mom, HAVE to practice and get better, HAVE TO SUCCEED. HAVE to stay up til 3 in the morning to finish what I started and it HAS to be the best I can do. HAVE to make myself feel important. Then I wake up everyday and realize it's not what I want yet, not even close and the laundry's not done and the house needs cleaning and the yard needs raking, etc. I'm not living up to my own expectations. I'm not doing what I want yet. I'm not doing the art that I see in my head or succeeding at the rate I feel I need to and I'm doing the worst job ever running my household. I can't do art as a hobby. I'm not rich enough to just play around everyday. I need to be GOOD at this. So, then, I have last week's practicality struggle.

Today, I've pretty much decided that as soon as my dad's surgery is taken care of, I am going to get a job. It may be very un-glamorous. It may be menial. I took a lot of work home with me with my last job - in fact, I worked at it a lot at home after dinner and on weekends. I don't HAVE to work luckily. Hubby makes a very good living when there are no writers or actors strikes. But, I think a job will help me feel more productive and contributory to the family. I'll still do art, just less. A job will get me on a schedule, off my you know what, with some people interaction. Maybe the schedule will help my procrastination problem with the household. After hopefully finding a job I can live with (yes, once again my BFA degree may land me a good cashier job somewhere) I will feel more important . . . to me. I will be working for the almighty dollar.

After I land the prestigious cashier job, I am going to really focus on making what I see and not what I think everyone wants to see or what they don't want to see. If I want to make a 5 x 7 fairy portrait, I'm gonna make it. If I want to make a 3 x 4 surreal collage, I'm going to make it. If I make one piece a week I am happy with, so be it. And, I'm not going to worry about being famous for it. You know, outside of Stampington magazines, does anyone know who Teesha Moore is or Sandra Evertson to name a couple. Don't get me wrong. I am a huge fan of theirs and think they are immensely talented, but I am realizing having the most popular blog or flickr or being published in Somerset Studio the most does not necessarily make the most successful artist, depending on your definition of success. Does your husband or your BFF know who they are? Do you know the name of the person that designed the car you drive, that add for perfume that made you look twice, the book cover on what you're currently reading, or the last Hallmark card you bought? Do you know who drew Coca Cola's first Santa Claus (our US version) or who illustrated your favorite book as child? Probably not.

I used to live in Kansas City. I lived there when I was a kid and one of our yearly field trips was to Kaleidoscope, Hallmark's interactive art studio for kids. Hallmark is, or was, based in Kansas City and if you've never been, Crown Center is one of my most favourite places to visit. Kaleidoscope is nearby. From my first visit, all growing up, I thought I wanted to be an artist that worked for Hallmark - no fame or fortune in that. Just a job you might like doing and that someone might use to brighten someone else's day. So after inquiring about being part of a hoity toity artsy fartsy (lots of nudey tudey photography) websites and being accepted, I decided today that that's not me. I'm not hoity toity. I'm middle class, crafty, Hallmark-ish, sweet and trite and not so surreal. Definitely not hoity toity artsy fartsy.

Instead of working on the next best thing to hit flickr or an exclusive artist website, I'm thinking I will work where my heart leads me. Maybe I will design a line of cards that I'll sell dirt cheap on Etsy and at flea markets using vintage snapshots. Maybe I'll design a cd cover or two someday if I am very lucky. Maybe I will forever sell $10 and $12 collages on Etsy to a limited audience. I don't know.

I DO KNOW that there ARE NO RULES. Though I try as I might to invent them, there are no rules to this. I can do whatever the heck I want or don't want. I don't HAVE to be fabulous at making art. Now, if I could just believe it down to my toes. The toes are always the problem. I get almost there . . . .

So, what do I KNOW I'm good at? I'm good at teaching art appreciation to not artist audiences. I know how to remove the mystique, the forbidden, the wall between Nascar/golf/bowling watching middle age men and Picasso. I know how to help people react to and talk about art. I am good at giving them the vocabulary, the words and the reference point to discuss art. If I could just find a job doing that I would be happy.


Debra Mc said...

Hi Marsha. I sure do feel your pain. Almost everything you wrote are thoughts that have run through my head too. I wish I had a solution but the best I can come up with is to believe in yourself. Simple words, but they can inspire so much more. Hang in there~

TxScrapAddict said...

You can do anything you set your mind to. But patience is as important as perserverance. Give things time....it will all work out. You'll see.

Tumble Fish Studio said...

Thanks you ladies! I'm really not depressed or upset - just figuring things out, taking some pressure off of myself, slowing down a bit, focusing on other things too instead of ignoring them. What I didn't say very clearly is that I think if I get some little job somewhere I won't feel so inpatient to earn money from making art and then I can focus on making what I want to and develop as an artist in due time. Does that make sense?

Jill said...

I got my Therapist degree in a Cracker Jack box...(LOL) but I know that when you put that energy out in the universe, it really does come back. I'm happier working than when I was a SAHM. I b!tch about not having any free time and being tired, but I feel like I actually accomplish stuff now and I have a very rewarding job that allows me to work everyday with soldiers who are serving our country! Heck, maybe you can find a position at one of the big craft stores and at least score an employee discount!! :)

Cha Cha said...

You know what? I don't have a clue who any of those artists are. But I know you. And your work makes me smile. And I hung your geisha fairy in a rather odd place in my living room so I can look at it while I sit on my sofa. Because your art is lovely and amazing and makes the world a better place. Not maybe someday you'll be a good artist and maybe make people happy ... you're doing that NOW.

Be kind to yourself. Be patient. Have faith.

I will say, too, that as a self-employed writer, I was always more focused and happier when I had a little nothing job on the side. It was good for me to get out of the house and have people to talk to. Plus, it made my creative time much more productive because I literally didn't have all day. Food for thought.

Trust that you are right where you need to be and will continue to be shown the next step.

Love, Cha Cha

Tumble Fish Studio said...

I love you Cha Cha. I do. You brought tears and a smile at the same time.