I woke up today in a bit of an anxious place, because I'm about to make a big commitment: where to live. After completing graduate school, I'm ready to decide where to be, in a home that is mine or to stay a renter so that I can be mobile and free. I'm sure other artists think about this, but for me I have three children (shared time with their father) in a town they like. I like it too. Yesterday, I discovered a few new places that I could build up into a lovely loft and studio, and now I have to decide.
I share this dilemma, fully aware that I am lucky to have a choice, but need to make one soon. What's more important: a studio practice accessible to the public and clients or a home that my Christmas tree has proper placement? These are the questions I keep asking (see my problem?!)
On top of all that, I finally finished my taxes (yes, in July, but I got an extension.) I did well in residencies and large commissions, but poorly in art sales. I didn't do much in exhibitions, but I was getting a bit experimental in how I share my work (not necessarily sell my work). I feel like I was loitering in my role as an artist, even though, I am "all art, all the time."
So that term, Creative Loitering came to mind, as I woke up. Am I a creative loiterer ? Is there even a purpose to my work, if it is not being acquired by the general public? I know I do work, and I get paid for the work I do, but is the end game the sales of visual art for someone's wall a way of showing one's success?
I know these are silly questions, considering that I had a few public art pieces (not for sale, but for use) in the region... and that I do actually sell work, but just not as much as in years past. But I did think about how the community I choose to live sees me, especially if they do not see my work for sale in the local market. Do they just think I'm loitering around town with the artist label on my lapel?
Hello! Welcome to my self-doubt! It only takes up 3% of my psyche, but I figure it's okay to share these doubts with you, my reader, so you know I have them. As a friend of mine always said (from a place of his own social anxiety), "You, Heidi, are ridiculously confident." When he said that, my head cocked to the side, and I thought that maybe I didn't deserve that confidence? Over time, he realized he said it wrong (note the social anxiety part), and he really meant that I don't show a bit of that 3% self doubt... ever. So here it is, folks!
So now I'm thinking about this Creative Loitering concept... what would it look like?
Nothing. Absolutely nothing. And super suspicious (artists are definitely seen as suspicious.)
So get off the sidewalk and carry on your way, because you couldn't possibly be doing something productive.
Weeds just want to be flowers.
Leave them to becoming brilliant, you jerk.
Yet, as an artist once told me in my early years (as a young mom with no studio practice, working a job in sales), "You are gathering material." I look back on that advice and laugh, as yesterday, I was taking pictures of the gravel driveway and a beautiful weed that was about to bloom. That moment will turn into a series of paintings, or not... but it had to be captured.
I'm loitering right now. Amazingly, still paying my bills. I look like I'm doing nothing, but really, I'm in waiting... for the next piece of inspiration.
As for where I'll live, I still don't know. I'll scrap the need for perfect xmas tree placement, because that's just not that important. The creative loitering is my new thing, and I now token that as a relevant part of the creative process. So those who do not get the creative process, and that it does not mean "standing at your easel all day," can just judge away.
And the fact that I think anyone is really judging, or caring at all, goes back to that 3% self doubt. I'll be over it in a little bit, once my coffee kicks in.
-Stay Creative, you Loiterer!