Success is a silly word. I’ve learned that stopping to reflect and self-define a meaning for success is vital if you want to art (as a living). I am coming to the end of my 2nd (maybe 3rd) level of this art thing and addressing “success” was unavoidable if I wanted to continue because art (as a living) will so very often not look like success. Most* often in fact: most often, art-living people will not look like successfully-living people. Still, only looking at things is not really the greatest way of assessing them.
In the past 2.5 years arting full time, I have repeatedly had to stop and deal with the issue of “success”, and whether or not I was attaining it. When I started this path I intended to take the dive and invest money on myself for two years to live and work full-time as an artist. The idea was that, at the end of these years, I will have built a neat little business and begin to live off of my work, returning on that investment and slowly, but surely, finding even footing. I am thrilled to tell you that instead, these years were like an excelled Masters program of Art that involved a whole lot of body/mind/and soul building, and about a teaspoon’s worth of empire-building… I have deep pockets full of rich personal growth, and a rather empty wallet. I wouldn’t trade any of it; I may have been wildly naïve about the reach of my foresight, but it has led the way through a truly magical journey!
I had to learn to stop and assess myself against my own values, as opposed to the measures of others. Of course, in order to do that I had to stop and decide: what are my values? What do I consider valuable in life? Let me say now that that deep and existential question (for to answer this you also gotta wade through some of the murk-filled waters of “Is my life valuable?”, and “Does our existence as a species have inherent value?”…) has been quite the party. The conclusion I’ve come to, for now, is that my successful life is one where I am healthy in body, mind, and soul through means that are sustainable for my self, and compassionate for the world I live in. I know, I sound like kombucha tastes. I’ve accepted this.
That definition doesn’t directly say anything about doing art full-time, because art has not stopped being my goal, but giving myself these years has deeply reaffirmed to me that I love making art so much-SO MUCH- and that I make the best art when I am healthy in body, mind, and soul. I’ve had just a taste of what I can accomplish when I live for my health, and how much more useful I can be to those around me. I have learned that neither as an entrepreneur nor as an artist am I developed enough to sustainably support myself; if I continue to apply all of my pressure on my art right now, I will hurt myself, and break my art in the process. And I refuse to do that because, unabashedly, I love my art.
So what now? How do I move forward? Well, my first solo show will be presented in less than 2 months; WITH WOLVES: Passage Through Feral Wonder opens Friday, November 4th at Gallery 1965, and it closes with a special theatrical showcase on Thursday, November 10th. 9 days later, I am moving to Australia.
Like so much of what I do, on paper this decision doesn’t make sense. But I’m not striving for a life on paper; I’m striving for a life of dreams. I’ve come so close to it and can see that if I want to make it my reality I have some growing up to do. I have some fears to face, and some strength to build and I believe this challenge will help me. I’m nervous for how much unknown is before me, and it’s bittersweet to pin the prick to this particular magical bubble, but even though I may be taking on more Muggle jobs on the outside, know that on the inside it's 100% Wizarding World.
All of that said, please note that 9 days after the show, I AM MOVING TO AUSTRALIA! That means that now is the time to come out and get your art! Once I’m gone, I have no answer as to when I will come back, (My projection is 1-2 years, but many of my Aussie friends said the same thing when they moved here 10 years ago. So…) and reclusing to the wild to live with the koala’s is entirely in the realm of possibility. Who knows when I’ll get to take over a gallery again, but I’ve poured everything I have into this series; every last drop of heart and soul has been wrung from my spleen and splattered onto the canvas, and I really look forward to sharing it with you.
So much love,
*This statistic is brought to you by my isolated and biased experience, not science.