I’m not sure why I started a blog. I’m not sure what it is I’m trying to accomplish. Maybe I’ll forget about it and move on to something else. Maybe a publishing house will read it, and publish my writing and then I’ll be rich and famous and buy a pool house (a house that is also a pool).
At any rate, I had a studio visit a couple months ago, where I was given the advice; “never let the public know you have no money/are struggling.” I thought a lot about it, so much so that I have not mentioned it in any regard on any media, though I have talked about it in private with those who have proven to be trustworthy. I feel so embarrassed. It’s humbling to be in-between houses, and to inhabit another persons space because you have none to call your own. It’s terribly unsettling to have backed up bills, no money, and everything you want to do creatively is paused because priority stands in financial recovery. How did I get here?
Coincidentally, I was recently propositioned with a commission amounting in the exact total of dollars I needed to sign a lease for December 1st. I have had the great fortune of my art bailing me out of several fairly serious financial nightmares throughout the years. It paid off extortion fees from the Ohio government, and it has recently saved me from another month of using my back seats as a closet. It’s moments like these where my art takes care of me, and I have faith again in the magic of serendipity. That what I do is what I’m supposed to be doing.
I’ve wrestled a lot with the advice I was given, because what I heard was, “don’t ask for help.” On one hand I see where acknowledging to the public that the artist struggles, could weaken their social capital and so much of the success we artists acquire is determinant upon that social capital; unfortunately on this end, the artist is reduced to business and businesses can’t appear weak if people are to invest. I get it. It is smart to stay quiet. On the other hand though, we are people who have extraordinarily ordinary human experiences, and part of that experience is hardship. For an artist to denounce hardships in the name of protecting branding, it suggests to me an inauthenticity. Both are valid.
I have no qualms with asking for help when it relates directly to a creative vision I need financial backing to execute. I do though have trouble asking for help when I need it for me. It does seem weak. I don’t think it is though. It’s a strange thing to navigate life as both artist and person, and trying to separate a persona from real life. For me they are both the same, my persona is who I am when I speak, and my art is who I am when there are no words. It feels unnatural for me to separate what I have to say as a person from what I have to say as an artist. So I guess maybe that’s why I started this blog. I’m trying to see if it’s possible to do both.