the art of the real job

It all started with this drawing which I shared on twitter this morning: IMG-20130418-00476

Shortly after I shared this, I was reading through my twitter feed and saw someone remark: It makes me a bit sad when the coffee shop's sandwich board has a chalk drawing obviously made by someone with a fine arts degree.

I wasn't tagged in this statement, but it was posted shortly after I posted my silly rendition of my co-worker by someone who follows me on twitter. That statement made me a bit sad, coupled with the fact the co-worker I did the drawing off is leaving the cafe for a 'real job'. It got me thinking:

What the hell IS a real job?

I don't know, to be honest. For myself a real job is something that pays the bills. A job I really like, that helps me to really travel and buy things I like; reallyΒ feed my dogs, repair my car, buy more canvas and paint and music to paint to. Between the cafe and painting I have paid off my student loan and begun to explore Canada (and soon the UK). That's pretty real. I think that's really cool.

My response to the statement was this: what if they don't have a degree, paint most of the time and just love working in the coffee industry on the side?

Their response: I guess I'd just rather people be able to pursue what they want full time and have the arts recognized as a viable profession

The definition of viable is totally subjective. I can accept that. I feel like I'm doing really well artistically. This year alone I've done artwork for one album cover, and have two more in the works. I've designed this year's festival poster for my favorite BC music festival plus (hopefully) their t-shirts, not to mention the 4 other art shows I have lined up for this year. I think it's great that the cafe where I work let's me display and sell my work, draw the menu board and puts up with what random other drawings I do and leave around there. I don't think it's sad. I think it would be sad if they DIDN'T allow me to do that, being a small business and all. But that's just me. Then I've had people talk to me about the other half of this; mainly painting full time.

I mean, wouldn't you rather paint full time? Isn't that the goal? Isn't that what every artist wants?

I fear painting full time would make me bat-shit crazy. I'm not kidding. My studio is in my house. The bearded dude has strange hours working as an EMT and my dogs are great, but conversations with them are very one-sided. I like people. I like the daily interaction I get making people coffee at the cafe. I get to hear about their shenanigans and get out of my own head. It also allows me to share with others the cool things I'm working on and excited about. So no, at this point, 13 years into my career as an artist, my goal is not to paint full time. I paint as much as I can, price it reasonably and be able to continue the lovely cycle of traveling, painting, selling over and over again. I want to paint and draw as much as I can. That is my goal. And to have the money I need to fix things, drink nice beer, go to festivals, get painful tattoos on the tops of my feet... Also, I get really frustrated when other artists whine about this; not being able to paint full time. So? Are you making the most of the time you DO have to paint? If you had the time to paint more, would you? You make time for the things you love. Family. Friends. Exercise. School. Art. If you can't do 'it' (whatever it is you love and are working on) full time, then why bother?

Um....because it makes your heart glad and it's good for you to have projects to work on. Jeepers!

I love painting and drawing. I get really cranky when I don't. I love sharing my work with whoever will look at it, be it cafe, Art Walks, blogging, or handing out business cards. I am a shameless self-promoter. I'm proud of the work that I do and I love that people get excited about it.

I'm not berating those of you reading this who do have their hearts set on being a full time artist/musician/craftsmen/ninja or whatever. And for those of you who have gone to school and are working hard to pay off loans and learn and try new things in an academic setting, seriously....kudos to you. I have gone about my career a bit differently. I'm not saying my way is the right way, it's just the way that I have gone about it. I don't think it's wrong or less, either. Self-taught. Second jobs. Much jabbering about my work. Getting shows where I can. I dig both of my real jobs.

Really.