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Reply To: Self esteem

Reply To: Self esteem2013-10-16T12:15:44+00:00

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Your art instructors sound kind of silly. The tools are there to serve you, not you them. The reason to know about different brushes, as with all other materials and techniques, is to understand what effect they produce – so you can get the effect you want by choosing the right tool for the job. If you’re satisfied with what a particular brush gives you, there is no reason not to use that brush.

I have exhibited some of my paintings (I was in a couple of group shows, one at a museum.) I gave up my studio right around the time I had the work to get a gallery (due to having a child) and that was a long time ago. If I had the money, space, and time, I’d probably be doing similar non-decorative work. Art for art’s sake – not design, not decor. The cost of materials, studio space, tools, storage, transportation, documentation, etc. is prohibitive. Galleries take 50%. When you factor in the amount of time to produce the work, it is no way to earn a living. People who survive in that arena usually have another source of income.

The amount of money to be made doing work I’m not interested in is so small, there would be no point.  I’ve looked at illustration and graphic design options – it takes a certain temperament and unique skill set. It could take years to identify and develop a niche as an illustrator (such as to become the person with the best wood cuts, or the best dragons or whatnot). Stock art houses have taken over – you really have to be special to have a market and not get ripped off.  Clients think graphic design is about taste and preference – they have no respect for the profession because they don’t understand it’s about making strategic decisions to clarify a message. And they don’t want to pay the real cost of labor.

I’ve invested a huge amount of money in retraining over the years and none of it translated to gainful employment, so I’m hesitant to invest more time, money, grief, and willpower trying to learn to do things I don’t enjoy – which won’t pay off anyway. If I’m going to kill myself trying to learn something, I want it to be something I’m passionate about. What I’ve learned is that things I thought would be right for me based on my art skills completely go against who I am as a person, what I believe in and value.

For the last year I’ve devoted myself to working on a novel and learning as much as I can to make it work – but there is no money in it, and probably never will be, because I don’t want to write commercial fiction.  I don’t have a commercial mentality about creative projects. It’s not who I am – I can’t force myself to be that kind of person.

So, all I know at this point is that when I make lists about how to make money with my skills, or try to imagine jobs that might be good for me – I’m always wrong. I am notoriously bad at identifying where I fit, which leads me to believe the answer is nowhere.

I’d be better off learning how to do accounting, although I would hate it and be terrible at it. But at least I wouldn’t have other people in my head trampling on what I care about with their stupid agendas.  Ironically, I actually like doing office support – it’s the corporate environment I can’t tolerate. Or the mentality that puts money above people or above expressing something meaningful instead of producing vapid stuff with commercial appeal that is transitory, forgettable, and disposable.

Money has to go to my children at this point, anyway. My son says I would be a good teacher. Probably the highest compliment I have ever received.

I’ve tried to get career advice/counseling in the past, but it didn’t help. My concern is not just about packaging skills but compatible values. And if the values are going to be completely incompatible, and the social environment totally repulsive, the money better be excellent. So far, nothing I’ve done pays jack.