I live in a community where being an artist is both glorified and celebrated – for most it is a hobby that is revered as a luxury. I live in a place that is primarily a retirement community – or vacation, second home, summer jaunt. Many of my local peers are happily retired and are now able to peruse their artistic dreams. Many people think it is so glamorous to be an artist.
When I first moved here I was seeing this appalling, sub-par shrink. One day, he asked me if it was “hard” to be an artist (whatever that meant), because his wife (retirement age) was thinking about becoming “one,” and joining the local Art Association. He even played the “do you know game…..” for a while as well. Needless to say I did not go back to him after that and I traveled to Jacksonville for my mental health needs to avoid any further small town BS. Sometime I just want to go somewhere and be a nobody – an ordinary citizen. Places like the Doctors Office, Shrink, YMCA, etc.
Then there is reality: I may have mentioned before – there are only a handful of career artists – full time artists – that actually live here.
I know a few artists who have really been struggling. Some are loosing their homes, being evicted, having to take other jobs, move in with family members, default on loans, etc. Places are going out of business. I know this is happening to many people – not just artists. But since it is in my field I guess I can actually relate a little more. I want to count myself lucky. Last month was absolutely horrible, and December sales were way down as well. I was afraid this new year was going to begin with such a shadow cast over it……Lets face it – art has not exactly been a priority these days. I have been there. I have wanted to throw in the towel before – because I was down in the dumps, had not sold anything in a month or two and wanted to “quit being an artist” (whatever that means). At what point are you supposed to give up? Or do you?
Well things are finally looking up! People are starting to spend money again. This month (like most February’s) has been pretty good to me so far. And it is not just art sales. People are spending money on-line, traveling again, eating out, shopping locally.
Sigh. It has been tough these past three five eight years for us artists!