Friday, September 22, 2017

Full time artist

 (Above:  In Box CCXCVII, detail.  Click on any image for an enlargement.)

Once upon a time ... and not that long ago ... somewhere in the neighborhood of fifteen years ... I dreamed of becoming an artist, a "real" artist with respect from friends, family, and my local community. 

(Above:  Vista Guild's reception for artists whose work was included in a recent project to wrap local electrical and utility boxes with images of artwork.)

Back then, I used to go to art receptions just to rub elbows and hear words of wisdom from talented creative-types.  I'd admire work I thought I couldn't produce and applaud in all the right places.  Becoming "an artist" was a fantasy.  Then, I started ... slowly ... after getting a studio in "The Vista", a section of downtown Columbia that was becoming the arts and cultural district.  I cherished the few moments when I got to "play artist".  This generally happened during two annual "art walks" in The Vista. In a very real sense, I "grew up" in my Vista studio. 

A year-and-a-half ago, I gave up that studio.  I needed more room and had it at Mouse House, my home/business.  Leaving The Vista was hard.  I'd practically made everything in that studio.  It was my sacred space, a security net, my artistic haven.  I worried that my local community would forget me, but that didn't happen.  Instead, I was one of the first artists selected by The Vista Guild to have an image of my work wrapped on a utility box.  Fifteen total boxes have been completed.  Friday night was the artist reception.  It really was special.  It reminded me of how far I've come in fifteen years of making.

(Above:  Reception for Anonymous Ancestors at the University of South Carolina Upstate's Gallery on Main with Jane Nodine providing my introduction.)

The next night (and in the same dress, LOL!), I was in my solo installation at USC Upstate's Gallery on Main for another reception. The talented Jane Nodine, art professor and assistant department chair, introduced me to students, facility, and the public.

This time, I was the one expected to deliver words of wisdom and encouragement.  Artists and art students from USC Upstate, Converse College, and Limestone College were in attendance.  I talked about installation art as a media, a way to use physical space for a temporary, site-specific expression of conceptual intentions.  I talked about collecting old photos and giving them a new life.  It was really wonderful and reminded me once again that I've really come far.  Most days, I tend to focus on how much further I want to go, forgetting the journey I've already managed.

After speaking, questions were asked and answered.  There are two typical questions that seem always to be asked:  1) How did you start? and 2) Do you ever sleep?  To me, they are totally related.  When one starts as late in life as I did (age 42), one is filled with more ideas than is humanly possible.  I'm acutely aware that I'll never get to most of my plans.  Constantly, I feel "behind the eight ball".  Time is limited ... which is why I work, work, work!  I don't waste time.  It is my most precious commodity!

 (Above:  In Box CCXCVII.  Framed 33" x 21". $550.)

The only way to really enjoy art receptions is to "keep them coming".  The only way to manage that is to constantly be making more and more work ... which is how I spent most of the week.  I finished two Large In Box series pieces.  These are headed to the Philadelphia Museum of Art Craft Show in November.

 (Above:  In Box CCXCVIII, detail.)

Fifteen years ago I dreamed of becoming "a full time artist" ... one that spent approximately 37.5 hours weekly working in the field.  (By the way, 37.5 was my goal as it represents "full time" in most fields, especially any government agency!) It didn't happen quickly (and I am still framing pictures for a financial living) but I've been working "full time" for the last couple of years.  Dreams do come true!

(Above:  In Box CCXCVIII.  Framed:  33" x 21". $550.)

Now ... back to my studio.  It is always time to make art!
I am linking this post to Nina-Marie's "Off the Wall Fridays", a site for sharing fiber arts.

1 comment:

Norma Schlager said...

Congratulations on all your accomplishments! You always amaze me and I also wondered. "Does she ever sleep?"