18 September 2008

What are you going to do with that?

Below is the first in a series of pieces I'm writing on my current development as an artist. Wow, that sounds very official. I'm going to write about the challenges as well as the triumphs.
I always get the same questions from people. The first is the title of this post. The second is:

How do you make money as an artist?

The short answer is: you don't.

But, I am never one for the short answer.

First, you have to have a short history lesson on me as an artist. I loved crayons as a child but my mom would not let me play with them inside the house. My parents also did not let me paint my room the crazy colors I wanted. This sparked an obsession with color. I did AP and IB art in high school. I graduated from the University of Florida with my BFA in Fine Arts this past May. For better or worse, I am forever a Gator. My concentration was Painting. I did a lot of crazy things that will be recounted later but it was mostly a great experience. I also went ahead and got minors in English and Art History. So, I am at the point where I am like, what now?

I knew I did not want to go straight into graduate school in the fall. The art grad students that I learned the most from all seemed to have taken off some time from school. Plus, I just did not feel ready. I decided to take a year off and live in Gainesville. The goal is to stay creative and not starve. It is mostly working out.

I know I'm facing a lot of challenges. I live in Gainesville, Florida. I love Gainesville. It's a city with real character. But it's not New York City, Los Angeles, or Miami. There are just less opportunities for a wide audience to see my artwork. Another challenge is one pretty much all artists will identify with- a lack of funding. I simply do not have the savings to just sit at home and paint.

But for all of the things stacked against me, I have some great things going. My parents are very supportive and encouraging. If you have that you are really lucky. The painting and drawing alumni in my school have a listserv. So, I hear about show openings, job offers, and other opportunities. I recommend everyone just about to go to school to make sure you have something similar. If you do not have it, set it up yourself! It's easy.

Well, you are probably wondering, what is she doing for money then? Well, art is not paying the bills yet. I have what most creative types have: a day job. Right now I work in an office. Soon I'm going to be doing some work for my family. That and working on graduate school applications is going to take up most of October. Stay tuned.

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