One thing I did last year (that distracted me from making art) was to go back and read my old journals. I’ve been journalling since I was 14 or 15, so there’s a lot to read through. Here’s something I wrote on June 13, 2002:
I’ve been thinking that maybe it’s time to eliminate web design as a career possibility. I have not succeeded. Maybe it’s because I never really wanted it in the first place. I imagine myself working at a tech company with a chip on my shoulder, trying to convince everyone I was actually an artist. I never got over the whole frustration that designers are also supposed to be programmers. Although I must admit, dappling in Flash Actionscript was very powerful. I loved it. It sometimes made me feel like a god, creating things that have a life of their own, so to speak.
Even back then I had that ongoing indecisiveness: “Should I be a designer or a programmer? What about my Art?” It’s the same thing I struggle with now when I question whether I should make art in my spare time, or keep trying to market the art. There never seems to be enough time for both.
A long time ago, I had a friend who was taking a painting class at the Barnes Foundation. He said his instructor advised that you should never think about having to make a living from your art, as this will ruin your art. Instead you should become something that has nothing to do with art – like a postman, or a plumber. My inner asshole art critic has always kept this sentiment in the back of my mind and it’s like a curse. Because of course you should think about making money from your art! I mean why not?
As for actually paying the bills, I always think about this Jerry Saltz quote from his book, How to Be an Artist:
“But you are really sneaky and reourceful; this is a life and death matter to you. Eventually – and this comes for fully 80 percent of the artists I have ever known – you scam a way to work an only-three-days-a-week job.”
Nursing can definitely be that “only-three-days-a-week job.” If you work three 12 hour shifts, you often get paid full time wages and benefits. Which leaves 4 days out of the week to make art! So really I have no excuses. And I’m glad I gave up on web design as a career because who even uses websites anymore? 😉