Friday, March 27, 2009

Art Blog: It is NOT a SIN

For me, there has been a secret dread. Yes, I am a self supporting artist. However, my financial support is mostly derived from my teaching job. Oh, how terrible. How awful. How despicable. How NOT! A few years ago, I was involved in an online discourse about self supporting artists. There are bunches of artists who claim to be self supporting. I asked for more info. I mean, I really wanted to know about their lives! I got very few miraculous explanations. Even those they touted their self supporting status, it reeked of smoke and mirrors. Upon scrutiny, I found they do work as artists, but their spouse has a job which is paying the mortgage or buying art supplies. Another scenario was an artist's life that was a bit meager. Yes, they supported themselves sans any kind of life luxury. Hmmmmmmmmmmmm.. That is not the answer I wanted to hear.

At that time, I really wanted a magic answer. I wanted to hear success stories. I wanted to learn the secrets of the artist who supported themselves all alone with their art. I didn’t get one example of this. OH WAIT. There was one. She was an artist who had been left money by her parents. This inheritance provided for her art life. How lucky she was! I envy her. I don’t have an inheritance. I never will. That means I have to make my own way. Bummer!

Even now during this time of economic downturn, I hear tragic stories of how artists are struggling. I know about this. I am old enough to have lived through a number of recessions. It isn’t fun. Yet this time around, I haven’t felt it. Well, I know prices have gone up. I know it is harder to live. However for me, I just need to adjust what I spend my money on. Of course, art supplies, entry fees, and art shipping costs are my first priority. Maybe I have to cut back elsewhere. However overall, I can handle the economic disaster right now. Finally, I know how and have the means to survive.

Yes. I can survive. This is because I teach. OH MY GOSH!!! OH HOW AWFUL!! She is a teaching artist. YUCK! Well, no. Being an artist who teaches is not a sin. In fact, I am seeing the benefits of this situation clearly and positively more each day. It is a way to be able to survive as an artist. It is a way to have money coming in regardless of economic times. It offers new perspectives because you get out and work creatively with others. In some instances, you can even get benefits like health insurance and retirement. I am really tired of having to explain myself. I am tired of apologizing. Even artists who aren’t signed on to do a full time teaching job, still teach workshops or art center classes. They might even do odd jobs. So? How is that any different? No, teaching is not a sin or something for which to be ashamed. More artists do it than those who admit it. I do.

As long as I keep my identity as an ARTIST, I am very cool with teaching. Oh and BTW, I am really good at the teaching part and the ARTIST part!


Claudia Olivos and Sergio OlivosM said...

Good post!
Hubby and I are both artists and art teachers.
Our teaching pays rent and food, our art sales pay for our travel, books, good wine, and good food :)
Our teaching allows us to BE working artists as everything we do (including teacing) is all about art! We live art, love art and love to share our art with others!

gilda said...

Hear Hear! Wonderful post, Sheree! From one artist/teacher/artist to another!
Hey, where did you get that sweatshirt?

Sheree Rensel said...

It was one of your tweets on twitter that gave me the idea to write the blog post. I had seen your work and when you tweeted about teaching, I thought about how many artists teach. This has been a topic on my mind for a long time. I am tired of some artists acting like it is a bad thing or something for which to be ashamed.
Thanks for your feedback! :-)

Sheree Rensel said...

I knew you would like this post. :-)

OK the shirt. Holy Macaroni! I had to think a minute on this one. I got them from a seller on Amazon. If you scroll through their storefront, you will see they have "artist" everything (hats, bags, T-shirts, sweatshirts).
I have both red and black sweatshirts. I want to get a hat and maybe a T-shirt in the future.
Here are the URL (They are long, so cut and paste)

Site Athletics Storefront:

Black ARTIST sweatshirt:

Red ARTIST sweatshirt

gilda said...