One good thing about having gone through this Art AA thing is that I’ve realized that being a working artist is actually work; and it’s a lot of work.
I feel like there’s some part of me which says I should like it more…as it comes to me somewhat more easily than it does to what we suspect of the rest of the general population. This is not to say it’s easy, because it’s not. It’s just easier for me than it might be for others (or so we assume).
Art can be fun, but the sort of immersive experience I’ve had over this last semester is kind of…a bit too much. I am glad I took the series of classes I have, because it really has given me additional insight into the creative process — and that can be used in pretty much any creative endeavor I embark on. However — that process, for me, takes time. It takes time, faith, and perseverance.
Knowing this, and realizing how much of a weight I felt lifted from me when I realized I could have Art as an avocation and make a living doing something else…it’s gotten me to realize that maybe this is better for me than specifically aiming to survive as a freelance Illustrator.
The positive thing? I have other skills. Particularly, writing. Not everything on this blog is really polished — actually, almost none of it is. But over the course of publishing and seeing viewer responses…I’ve kind of gotten a feel for how to reach others, what makes others uncomfortable, and what others really like to engage with. This is really good material to know.
What it means for me is that going forward, I’ll probably want to put a bit more time and effort into the concepts behind my posts, think about what I want the reader to gain from viewing my posts, and take more time to write and edit in general. I’ve also realized that people really like it when it’s visible that I did something for them, and not just for myself. And sharing out of a sense of obligation (or needing to keep up posting frequency to help retain an audience) is probably sharing which shouldn’t happen.
I had not been letting posts languish as “Drafts” because of some flaw in WordPress which sent something out to the Reader at the time it was begun, not the time it was finished (which meant it was not likely to be seen), regardless of whether the time/date stamp was changed, if I’m right (I didn’t experiment enough to really make sure). I think this has been corrected, now. This means that I don’t have to be writing flash posts all the time.
There is also the phenomena of readers who like writing as versus readers who like images (both are here); and there are times when I didn’t put images into my posts which were necessary for the general public to comprehend the writing. I haven’t, that is, been paying as much attention when composing as I’d need to, to create a good User Experience. As much as I disliked my Marketing course in the Business program, the question of whom it is that I’m trying to reach is a good one.
Why is it that people visit my blog or read my posts? And if this blog is not just for me, how can I help my readers understand what I’m trying to say (to them)? If this blog is just meant for me and others can peek in on it: that is one approach I can take, but my readership may suffer. (After all, it may literally feel like reading someone’s random journal which they left sitting on a bench.) If this blog is meant to communicate something to others, though, I need to take that into account…and clarify what it is that I’m wishing to communicate.
Art itself…requires commitment. There’s continual work involved to hone and retain skills and build new skills. Nearly continually in this program (I have been careful not to say where I go to school), I’ve been pushed outside of my comfort zones in order to grow. At the same time, though, there is a “home.” It’s this — the craft things in particular — that I’m hoping to return to during the Summer, enriched by the work I’ve done in college.
I want to do more work painting botanicals, practicing my pen and ink drawing, experimenting with liquid media like acrylics and watercolors, experimenting with color and color interactions, playing with cords and beads, and maybe even embroidering. The main theme flowing through this is a love of color; which explains why it is that silversmithing didn’t hit it on the head for me. It wasn’t the silver that I loved; it was the beads and the colored stones.
Beadwork, macrame, embroidery, painting, braiding…even the crochet (the last of which, I have stopped — it’s an expensive hobby in terms of time); all of these things can, at least, involve heavy work with color, and it’s something I want to go back to. Not to mention that most of these are considered crafts, not arts; and as such, are seen as more appropriate for women. Because of that, they’re valued less. And because this is true, it will probably be an uphill battle to survive using these skills alone.
I am a bit concerned that most of the people who sell these crafts (and arts) are supported by a significant other who makes a living wage. It has never been a goal for me to marry or be dependent on someone else; though it is interesting to see the beginnings of the possibility start to open up, now that I’m older and am dealing with more mature candidates with whom to build a family. My own walls are starting to come down, as well.
My main aim over the next three years will be to become employable in an Information setting — or otherwise, to find a career setting in which I can utilize my Writing skills. I may create a separate portfolio blog, for this purpose; though in the meantime, a repository of Pages should work.
I still haven’t taken my technical Library course, so I don’t even know if the path I’m thinking of (Digital Archives) is a good fit, right now. If it isn’t, I can always go back to the program I was in before and look for a better-fitting job that provides a living wage. I actually think that may be my best option, as from what I’ve heard, Library work is difficult if one does not wish to have constant public interaction — and I don’t.
The main reason I’m after the degree is that it is a career-track position, pays a decent salary, has health benefits, is tolerant of difference, and will keep me off the street. There are certain ethical functions as well…but I am really just not sure that I want to keep working in a Public Library setting for the rest of my life.
If I’m not going to do that, though; I’d better start getting my Writing portfolio together.