Thursday, April 23, 2009

Art Blog: Artist SURVIVAL

You know, I have been a survivor all my life. I guess since I knew I was going to be an artist at the age of 4, I suppose I braced myself for the ride. All I know is it has worked. I have never been materialistic. I learned that very early. I just went about my business. I had what I had and didn’t long for other things. I knew my goal was to be an artist. Stuff and status was not my thing. I didn’t care what I had to give up in order for the wish to be an artist to come to fruition. I just did the work and lived on.

I lived the bohemian life for almost 20 years. I lived hand to mouth. I made a ton of art. I sold a ton of art too. It just didn’t pay ALL the bills. I scraped up enough money to go on weekend trips to Manhattan. I slept on art studio floors. I begged, borrowed, but did not steal to live my art life. I know I lived in a meager way. I felt very comfortable riding the subway dressed in a dirty T shirt at 3 AM in the morning. I did stuff like this with pride. In fact, I felt like I was living for a cause.

Things have changed now. I am still an artist. However, I have a day job now. As you all know, this is a Yin/Yang kind of proposition. I am far more economically stable, but I am still VERY frugal. Looking out on my patio right now, I see the steel bell I used for my “doorbell” when I lived on Third Ave. in Detroit. The building was basically a tenement. I had to walk to the third floor with groceries in hand while helping my toddler up all those stairs. There was no doorbell or anything that fancy. So I rigged up a steel bell outside my window with a very long rope leading to the ground floor. If I had visitors, they would pull the sisal rope and I would know to come down to let them into the building. Ahhhh, yes……This is an example of making do.

These are fond memories. I surely don’t want to go back there. However, I want to remind you all, your past predicts your future in a way. I don’t give a flying flip about the recession right now. WHY? Because I know what it is like to be dirt poor and do whatever you need to do to SURVIVE.
I have been there, done that!

This simple, metal bell has taught me a huge life lesson.
You need to do whatever it takes to make your dreams come true.
Sometimes, I go outside now and just RING this bell.
It reminds me for that which I believe.


namastenancy said...

I smiled when I read your post because I think that we are both survivors of the school of hard times. So many are not but the NY Times has a web page where artists can post their stories and some of them are enough to break your heart. I'm glad that I never wanted to be part of the rat race or thought of myself as a high flyer. That way, I kept my sanity and followed my (he)art).
So, ring those bells, You've earned it.

Bill Evertson said...

I had to smile at your bell ringing. My wife and I were always faced with the same dilemma when we lived in NYC. How to carry everything up the four flights of stairs; baby, old dog, groceries. Somehow everyone made it.

My Wish said...

“It may take courage to embrace the possibilities of your own potential, but once you've flown past the summit of your fears, nothing will seem impossible. ”

Remember to always..."DREAM BIG!!!"

Claudia Olivos and Sergio OlivosM said...

Indeed! Ring that bell!!!!

Sheree Rensel said...

"My Wish" please don't use my site to promote yourself or what you do. I want sincere comments only. Thank you.

Sheree Rensel said...

Hard knocks? What? Oh, I get it. However, I realize it could always be worse. I am just doing what I do. I am moving on. I am keeping my head above water. I am living life. All this is good.

Sheree Rensel said...

I HEAR YOU! Sometimes, I look back on those times and wonder how I did it. I guess the "you have to do what you have to do" vibe was ever present. Hey, I always thought "God will not give you anything you can't handle". I remember that phrase as I pulled my daughter up, step by step by step. I also remembered it when I tried to explain to the social worker why I needed food stamps to FEED the baby. Hey, we do what we have to do. I look back now and realize, I did the best I could. :-)

Sheree Rensel said...

Oh, I am ringing the bell for sure! :-)