It’s been a while since hopping on, long enough to have celebrated my son’s 7 month birthday. Seeing that my last post was a month before his birth, I’ve got some catching up to do. I thought now would be a great opportunity to re-introduce myself, something I can only imagine every new parent feels they need to do.
I am a printmaker. I primarily do relief printing, more specifically woodcuts, but am happy to switch to linoleum when my wrists need a break. I have been graduated for 2 years now. College is an easy place to be an artist. You’ve got a support group, mentors, not to mention all that “free” ink that your tuition fees cover. Art majors are enabled, as they should be, to make their art. I guess when you really learn to be an artist is when that support isn’t a given, and the ink isn’t free. The question I’ve had to ask myself over and over again is, do I like this enough to dive in? To graduate from hobbyist to professional? Whatever that means. Aim for the 10,000 hours or something.
Once I graduated I tried to make a living with a good old 9-5 sort of thing. Having studied art I wasn’t equipped for many (any) specialized career paths, and was left resenting not only my work but my schooling choice that had put me in my predicament. I spent about a year in this limbo, just being bitter, until 2 things happened. My husband got a pretty decent job, and I got pregnant.
All of a sudden, in my own special domestic nuclear family sort of way, I was liberated to give art in the real world a try. Even in my new life of baby growing and lack of official employment though, it was still hard for me to go the whole nine yards and claim the title of full-time artist. As I reflect on this mental block of mine, I’ve discovered a few things about myself, maybe the society I’ve grown up in? However dramatic that sounds. I can’t justify sitting in a studio all day, investing who knows how much money in supplies, drawing on a piece of scrap wood, only to maybe sell the print that it produces. It seems ridiculous to say that that’s what I do! But you know what I love? Sitting in a studio all day, feeling that lovely BFK paper that I just bought, drawing on wood, and seeing how the print turns out. I love that! And it is work. It’s very stimulating work. And it’s craft. It’s a whole bunch of valuable things. Yet this thing that I love to do, and that, given the time and opportunity, I actually do a lot of very productively, is something that I feel embarrassed about. Or at least that I have to apologize for in the face of the more legitimate members of society.
Did I give that to myself? Did the world around me tell me to think that way? Who knows.
Well, I had my baby, and took a break from feeling like I needed to be anything. Becoming a mother was liberating for me in a less sleep, less leaving the apartment, constant vigilance sort of way. Some people aren’t into that, I sure was. Although I still felt and some times feel like I need to apologize to the professional world for making no living at home, I did have the sense that I was fulfilling a very important task that had to be done by me. I guess that’s my definition of a proper job. Doing something that must be done, and being the only person that can do it. I can see why art has given me a complex.
Fast forward through my adjusting-to-being-a-mom stage. I was surprised at how un-anxious I was about not working. I really love motherhood. For whatever reason I wasn’t worried about being the smartest or most accomplished or funniest person in the room anymore. Actually I know the reason. The needs of this little baby are much more important than my image. And then I had this great desire to start making art about my new found love. I wanted to try and capture the experience. I also felt a need for a mode of expression because however great being a mom is, it can also be isolating and monotonous. I started craving art. This was a strange feeling after having resented and justified and apologized for my art roots for so long.
That’s where I am today. Art is my outlet. It’s a way to leave a mark when so much of what I do can’t really be put on a resume. I can do it in 2-3 hour increments, by which time my phone is ringing for me to come home to feed, hold, or whatever else needs to be done. I am committing to keep this site updated, at least more often then 8 months. Work is on the way!