This changes everything

your-art-mattersTwo weeks ago, Fabeku Fantumise and Jeanne Bessette hosted a call for artists regarding changing the archetypes around artists so that we think like THRIVING ARTISTS instead of starving artists. This call was huge and profound and has got me all fired up about a big project I want to take on. I had been talking just the day before with Kat Peters-Midland about this project idea and I was so into it, but left her house feeling more wistful than anything. I didn’t think it was possible on Thursday, even though the idea is a good one and I was excited about it. But while I listened to Fabeku speak, I became more and more confident to

GO IN THE DIRECTION OF MY DREAMS!

I want you to go there, too. This recording is free. But you do have to promise to share it with as many folks as you can think of. Help start a revolution! (FYI, the call is not work safe.)

Download the recording here: Artists Transmission

After you listen, comment here and let me know your thoughts. Let’s talk about how we can spread the word.

How I Know I’m An Artist — Part II

Friday, I was juried (is that the right word?) in as an artist to the Poudre River Arts Center studios. I know that acceptance by my peers shouldn’t be a requisite, but for me, it helps remind me I am an artist. These artists are following their hearts, making a living at their art or doing art daily and they have STUDIOS in an ART CENTER with a GALLERY and that’s part of the Fort Collins First Friday thing…well, that’s way too cool.

I’ve been doing their website for a few years and now and then made some suggestions which have morphed into a position where I could be compensated for doing something I’m really good at. Long story short, they used to be more of a co-op, but now they have decided to create two positions — a marketing person and an operations person and the compensation would be studio space. I have really wanted to get out of the house more lately, as working at home can be a bit of a drag sometimes. I also want to give my art more serious attention; I thought that being in this type of atmosphere might help.

Friday afternoon I met with the artists, at the encouragement of Kat Peters-Midland, to be “interviewed” so the others could decide if I fit in with the existing studio artists. They were all really nice and seemed to like my work, although I felt very amateur and silly in their presence. (I’ll get over that, really.) An hour later, there was an email from Kat saying I’m in.

I’m very excited to have a studio, away from home, to work in. I think I’ll be more focused, as I won’t see my laptop across the room and worry about work that needs to be done, or laundry that needs to go into the dryer, etc. I’m super excited about finding a spot large enough to teach classes, as I’ve been wanting to do that for a while now and have a few workshop ideas bubbling up in the back of my head.

This coming week, i’ll go over to look at the spaces again and select mine, as well as to sign the contract. I think I move in July 1, but I’m hoping it will be a little sooner so I can participate in First Friday that month. I have so many ideas!

In the way of actual art-making, I have a few projects in progress, which I’ll write about soon. I completed a 9-month art therapy group yesterday, which also deserves a nice, thoughtful writeup. The photos in this post are from a swap I just did with Kelly and Venita. These two ladies make my heart sing. clicking on the photos will take you to larger versions, along with short explanations.

Harlan Ellison speaks the truth

Today my mother called me when I was slammed with work. She does that a lot. It’s ok, because she’s mom and I love her. Usually I rush her off the phone with a promise to call later (which I always do), but today I listened. She was excitedly talking about Harlan Ellison and some interview she saw on The Sundance Channel. She was really excited about it, which surprised me because mom doesn’t go in for foul or crude language or free-spirited thinkers (unless they are saints). Mom, I know you know I’m teasing you, but this is true – admit it!!

In the interview, Ellison discusses this phenomenon where writers are asked to write for free. He is appalled by this practice; insulted, even. And he’s right. Creativity is work, just like doing dishes, paving roads or being the governor. And when you work at something, it’s only right you get paid for it. (I’m still working on a solution for the stay-at-hom moms out there, but I’m puzzled on how to approach that one.)

I build websites and consult on internet stuff for a living. I can’t even count how many people have asked me to do it for less money or for free. In the beginning of my business, I did it a lot. I am not doing it any more. It’s hard, because you want that business, but by doing things for cheap or for free, you are cheapening your work and the work of your contemporaries. This is the same for all of you artists who are patiently and quietly working on softies or paintings or collages or altered art and so on. Your inspiration is of great value to the world. Think about it.

And for those who are wondering, the smudge of lime green pastel is still on the sleeve of my hoodie. Which is good, because it helps me still believe I’m an artist, because there hasn’t been much proof of that lately. Also, I can’t find my camera. 😉

how I know I’m an artist – part 1

A few weeks ago, in my art therapy group (Creating Your Heart’s Desire), we did intuitive drawings on large sheets of paper hung on the wall. We used pastels, which I rarely use in my regular art. I noticed the next day that there was a smudge of lime green pastel on the sleeve of my hoodie. I was so excited and wore that smudge all day like a quiet little personal badge of honor. Unfortunately, I eventually washed the hoodie and the smudge is gone now. But today I’m wearing that hoodie again and I remember the smudge and I’m reminded: Yes, I am an artist. What a happy, freeing thought that is for me.