There are moments when I know why I am an artist and then there moments when I don’t
At the moment I don’t know why I’m an artist. Maybe it’s not so much that I don’t know, it’s more like I shouldn’t be, because it isn’t sensible, right? I don’t have any money right now. This sucks a bit. I’m 42 and I have no money. I should be kissing my husband goodbye in the morning, packing the kids lunches and sending them off to school and then watching D.O.O.L. all day in between putting on another load of washing, while my man brings home the bacon… uh, on second thought maybe not. This sort of lifestyle was never going to be for me.
The funny thing is though, I’m the happiest I have ever been. I get very cranky if I don’t get my art fix for the day. Going to my studio every day and making new paintings until lunch, having a break and then doing paperwork in the afternoon is my idea of heaven. Writing grant applications has never been so much fun! Ok maybe I’m exaggerating a bit there. I know that I made the right decision giving up a full time career as a graphic designer over 7 years ago, it’s just that the money is lousy and I am thinking about advertising for a patron or attempting to grow a money tree in the backyard.
When I did have a job last year all I could think about was what I could be doing in the studio, so I didn’t last very long there. I ended up finishing up with the lame excuse of needing to have more time to work on my solo exhibition in June next year. When in fact I was just soooo bored that I felt like my brain was going to implode.
Painting challenges me and makes me think. Whenever I am painting I am constantly questioning my conceptual motives and arguing points in my head about why what I do is a waste of time. But of course it isn’t a waste of time. Good art challenges people’s perceptions and makes them question their assumptions and ideas about things. It’s like visual philosophy. I can’t make work that just looks pretty. There has to be questioning, meaning or a story in a painting otherwise it’s just an object meant for meaningless consumption.
Making art makes me feel like I have a purpose. My inner drive to make work is like an obsession or addiction. I wake up in the morning needing to go to the studio.
I know why I’m an artist.
It’s because I have to be, I have no choice.