Tuesday, March 30, 2010

I Believe I'll Trim Some Pots

What if Art could be thought of as a religion? I mean, it's something you can believe in, isn't it? It gives strength, insight, satisfaction, peace of mind, even moral direction. It requires faith, and dedication, and attention to others.

I say this because not all of us can be holy men (or women) or live our religions twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. And when your physical sustenance must also come from the practice of your beliefs, how does that complicate or erode your experience of that faith?

I worked for many years as a full time potter and it had its ups and downs. I certainly could have been more 'faithful' in my practice, more savvy as a business owner, and better capitalized at its inception. Many parts of it were wonderful, and I'm still delighted to visit my good old pots at other people's houses. But living in poverty was too stressful, for me, and my family. And selling pots because you absolutely have to, sucks.

Now, I finally have a good job, away from the arts but in a worthwhile endeavor. And I can express my faith in the same way that so many others of us express theirs... on the weekends. For artists just entering the business of art I recommend finding something similar. If success at your art simply overwhelms your ability to find time for a second career, well bless you. But for others, life is more likely to overwhelm your art. Build a wall of practical success and let it protect the temple sanctuary of your art. I rather wish I'd done so years ago.


French Fancy said...

Isn't it a shame that people with such a great creative talent like yourself cannot receive a state subsidy. Art is so necessary in our lives - imagine a life without pictures, sculptures, beautiful bowls and ornaments - it is too awful to even contemplate. But artists have to eat and these days people don't have spare cash for what is seen as luxury items.

At least you have the weekends for your art and your weeks are in an academic environment which must be very interesting.

Larry M. Brow said...

I sometimes wonder about state subsidies for artists. I guess I worry about the slackers and the no-talents that would abuse such a system, but there's a measure of loss in any business venture, and that's what it would be. We invest some money and what, in total, do we get back? Fewer divorces, and some great art. Not success every time, certainly.