Working for a Living

Ask any artist who's work doesn't support them quite yet, it's tough out there, and the soulless options for emerging artists are usually incredibly frustrating. When I first left school a couple of months ago, I didn't have the option to spend time looking for the perfect post-grad job, and most of my friends are in the same spot. They have a passion and a burning desire to make work, but they also have to pay bills, save money to move out, and have some cash to continue their art practice outside of school. So right away I started working at a pretty popular beauty supply chain (we'll just leave the name out of this), and I felt crushed. I'm exhausted all the time, my brain is melting a little from the monotony of the whole thing, the pay isn't even close to living wage, I kept being promised things that weren't happening. I'm a good employee, I don't call out unless it's an emergency, I work hard even if the job is terrible, and I like talking to customers as long as it doesn't get too personal. 

The positive attitude and hope and dreams that I had as a wide eyed slightly naive graduate were starting to be slowly crushed. I didn't have the energy to do anything creative. Then I remembered something one of my professors told me, that no matter what you do, no matter how tired you are, you have to do something creative every day. So I started small, I started organizing my files from my old computer to prepare them to go up on this website. Then I picked up my trusty ink brushes and some sumi ink, and started painting some weird faces (I am most definitely not a painter or a person who draws) but it was enough to get me motivated. Enough to make the next step of editing the endless photographs that I had taken over the course of my time in school. Enough to get me moving again. I started feeling better, my situation hasn't changed, I'm still a poor artist who's working a crappy job to scrape by, but at least I have the energy to make things now. 

I think what I'm getting at is, no matter what's happening, no matter how broken or scared or terrified you are after being pushed out into this strange world, always make things. Even if they aren't good, your first iteration of anything is probably not going to be good. Usually you have to go through ten, twenty, or even one hundred different versions of something until it's become the thing you need it to be. And you can't do that unless you're making stuff.