I Heard You Have a Part-Time Job?
That dreaded pinch from the goose’s beak that we all experience as artists; the pull and push of ego on ego, “If I chop yours down a little, mine doesn’t seem so minuscule.” “Do you have a studio space?” “You have a part-time job?” “Are you showing anywhere?” The constraints of being so fragile and impermanent can cause us to say some silly things, despite our universal union through hurt. My own existence is something I ponder quite often, many times through the process of creation. Thoughts enter, cycle, and disappear. Dark matter or a physical breakdown of reality before my very eyes, rogue forces of anti-me uncontrollable and unforeseen by the rest of humanity, the idea that I seem to be somewhere else while this flesh bag roams around aimlessly, misinterpreting its ill-perceived surroundings, or the worry that as humans we will be the cause of our own extinction, yet all these concerns seem trumped by peoples inherent need to cut down an artist's devotion to creation. Should a bunch of germ-infected pieces of paper with gaudy decorations and portraits of dead men really dictate whether or not my art is of a decent quality?
When people ask me what I do and I inform them that I am an artist, it seems they often feel a need to chop it down. To me, the understanding of what someone does and whether it is successful can be gauged in many ways, money being the least of my issues. Should I be posting Instagram selfies wearing stylish outfits surrounded by hipsters and models in a New York club to gain the world’s approval? Or should I take pictures of my legs with black, knee-high stockings in bed with a paintbrush by them to get some sales going? I’m sure somebody wants to fuck me enough to buy something. #sorrynotsorry. To me, the success or relevance of my time is a much more complex phenomenon. Sure, it’s always impressive when a man or woman can support a family and feed themselves by selling their art, but only the lucky ones keep their work uncontaminated by our paper decorated with green portraits of deceased idols.
Just What are You Trying to Say, Tony?
Give me a devotion to work strong enough to overcome all adversity. Show me a struggle, and someone really pushing themselves despite any obstacles. Show me this lost meat puppet skillfully controlled by the marionette, whatever dimension they may lie in. Show me a human who will give up anything necessary to create what they love, and show me a person who would abolish anything they possibly can if it gets in the way. Show me someone who shares my pain of telling job after job that art is the most important thing and you’re getting in the way. Show me somebody who has struggled to make their existence worth something by making the most beautiful and or interesting things come to be via a determined mind and an imperfect but tireless hand. Show me these things, and I promise they will not be overlooked due to pride or unsympathetic judgments. Show me these things, and I’ll show you a successful artist, and quite possibly another living breathing being who I’d be happy to know.