I thought i'd have a bit of a natter today about non-process related matters of art. Anyone who knows me in the real world knows I talk a lot about trying to work as an artist full-time.
Realistically, the way I spend money means that it's unlikely to happen any time soon. I'm a fritterer, I don't buy big things but I have more books in my house than I have room for, they are stacked in corners and crushed into cupboards. And because I am in a relatively well paid job and because I like it and the people I just haven't ever gotten to breaking point with working full time.
Generally speaking my thinking is always split into two on anything anyway, so I never really make any big decisions...I'm not a planner by nature, I just drift along, occassionally ranting about how i'd like to be going down the other trouser leg of time.
Every now and then though I get into a really shitty mood. I fume to myself about all kinds of things - one after the other, sometimes all mixed together.
I fume about the world at large. The odds are stacked against artists I rant. Our social and economic institutions are set up to keep us in traditional work patterns for almost our entire lives. Art institutions and grant systems have little interest in work outside of the conceptual mainstream!
Then I move onto my work, it's too nice or not nice enough, it has nothing to say about the world in which we live, it's too derivitive.
Then I move onto myself, I don't take art seriously enough, i'm a terrible planner, I don't organise myself properly, i'm not taking responsibility for my life.
My emotionally mature response to all these feelings is to try to ignore them as much as possible by going out a lot, or getting involved in a really good series of books until it goes away and stops annoying me. I never ever confront them, I never sit down and try to unravel all the tiny whingeing threads. I certainly never get out an excel spread sheet and try to figure out how I might afford to live off art.
I know that making a living from art has all it's own problems. I know that you have to seek out commissions more often, fulfill wholesale orders if you can, attend art fairs and even (gulp) answer emails in a timely fashion, you end up not really doing art for a lot of it.
But the other side is that starting on a Saturday I rush into my bedroom studio and start cutting up pieces of wood as fast as I can, gessoing, preparing, planning, drawing. I also have orders to fill out for prints and packaging and visits to the post office before mid-day. By sunday I may have gotten somewhere with a piece and then on monday I have to put it aside and wait, wait, wait until the next weekend. It's a fevered high pitched way of working which then spirals into this yearly fug of exhaustion and self recrimination.
Which is why, for the first time, i'm trying to consider what it would take to change my life. I don't think at this time I can afford to do it, perhaps not for a long time, but i'm interested in exploring the avenues and seeing in real terms how much i'd have to make and how I might do that. Even if I come out of it with a feeling of acceptance it'll be something - at least I can refer to my spreadsheets when I get into my fug.