Lets face it: I’m an artist, I know I can be a TOTAL flake at times. Most creative people I know can be that way. It is hard to balance your creativity, personal life, home, and business. I tend to get hyper focused on my work and ignore many details in the real world (like sleep.) I just have too many ideas swirling around in my head. (I used to be worse – but am sooo much better now thanks to ADD meds.) So, as a creative business person I have to try extra hard; take every precaution and steps to stay organized and ensure I stay on task (some people can hire others for this.) I also get migraines, and have had family stress – and it seems like I’m extra forgetful when those occurrences arise. I have three TO-DO lists. One for home (like call landscapers, replace outdoor light fixture, etc,) one for studio/art business (commissions, show deadlines, order business cards, etc,) one for personal stuff (like do taxes, doctors appointments, etc). If I don’t write it down I will forget. If I don’t put it on my calendar I will forget. And even then, I may still forget. The other day, I even had to write “take a bath” on my daily to-do list – just so I would not dick around too long in the morning. My BF was laughing his ass off.
We all make mistakes in life, but it is up to you to learn from those mistakes and not repeat them.
For a few years I was traveling back and forth to NYC so much, and recently to San Antonio, TX to spend time with my Mother. In order to do so, I really had to use my time wisely while I was in the Florida studio. Every moment was spoken for, in order to adhere to my deadlines. I don’t have too much wiggle room in my schedule. There were so many late nights and early mornings that my days were running together. Let’s face it – I work my ass off. In fact, I think I may have already written a blog post about this very same topic – but forgot.
That being said, it seems like in the last year or two I have had sooo many problems with people (not just one, but several) I have worked with professionally (or potentially worked with) – and they have serious problems returning phone calls or emails in a timely manner (or even at all.) And I’m not talking about a day or two later – but 2 weeks later or more (or never) – long enough that I either forgot that I contacted them in the first place, or I had to follow-up a few times. If it were an isolated incident – that would be forgivable, as you never know what is going on in people’s lives. But seriously, I know everyone is busy, and it is not all about me, but I can’t help but feel a bit taken for granted, taken advantage of, and/or that my time has been disregarded – especially since most of these people are repeat offenders. As I am not the only artist in your life, YOU are not my only client. However, I do NOT make you feel like that. It is called professionalism.
Buying art is such an emotional process for people – which is why I put up with so much (frustrating) indecisiveness. I have to be patient, positive, and encouraging, and remember this is a HUGE deal for some people. I work with some people who are buying their first piece of original art – and they need to feel like they are making the right decision, because it may be a lot of money to let go of. I am often expected to keep impossible install dates – and I end up staying up long nights for weeks on end – putting a rush on your project; then slap on a smile and some extra heavy-duty concealer when I deliver the work so you don’t think I’m a meth addict. I can get past all that, because while I complain – deadlines, and challenges are all about being in business. They make things interesting, cause you to grow, learn from your mistakes, think fast, and trouble shoot. However, some people can’t be bothered to pay artists on time, get important details to the artists before the project begins, answer questions, or respond to price quotes. That is the part of business I hate. For some reason, they don’t get the fact that if I have one kink in my schedule it can throw the whole project off and impact successive projects. I then have to do things the long, hard way to overcompensate in order to still meet deadlines. And then it starts to become a vicious cycle: I’m sleep deprived, I become forgetful, and I slack off at home, and personal life…. I have really learned that if I overcommit, and am not properly compensated for it, then I tend to get angry and resentful; and who wants to work that way? And I have no one but myself to blame.
Really, I hate to even complain. In the grand scheme of things this is the most trivial bit of drivel I have ever written in my entire life! I even started to make myself want to vomit. I’m mean – I realize I am not saving lives or anything, and this is a first-world problem. I should be thankful that I have any work at all. In an essence, am selling non-essential luxury items to people. And believe me I am EXTREMELY thankful!
These days, we have about 6 ways to communicate with each other on a daily basis (in person, by phone, text, email, computer chat, mail), in an age of smart phones, and iPads. We constantly know what is going on in the world, yet we are still communicatively crippled. Go figure.