Monday, March 2, 2009

Hard Work, No Pay

In August of 2008, my wife and I both lost our jobs. Because of this,
we moved from Florida to Massachusetts where we had better connections
and job opportunities.Fortunately , my wife was able to find a good
job, but me...not so much. Basically, we have a lot of friends in
Boston, many of whom have the same education background as me plus a
masters degree. All of us were looking for jobs at the same time so I
just gave up on even competing with them.

Anyway, this whole art
thing was actually growing faster than I expected so I took the big
chance and went full time. It was convenient, I really enjoyed it, and
for a while, it was the best paying job I had ever had.

Then winter came.

Without going into the numbers, December was rough, January was terrible, and February was about third of January!

Granted, the work level hasn't gone down. Without all the custom pieces rolling
in, I've really gone wild with my own more fine art pieces, expand my
blog and website, and experimenting A LOT.

I have to tell you, It is really, really hard to put in a 40 plus hour work week and not
make a penny for it! The combination of winter making the weather suck
and no sunlight in the afternoons means I'm almost never going outside
of the house- and we live two minutes from the ocean! Not sure if I
should be getting a second job or not. Things feel like they are
bouncing back, but in this economy, what exactly could a bounce even
be? I'm lining myself for lots of summer art shows, but if I start
working, I may jeopardize either work, for having to prepare for shows and not be able to work weekends, or give up on some of the shows, which may actually sell a piece. There are NO jobs in archaeology right now, so I'll have to go into a really saturated job market with very minimal skills. Gah, decisions!

now it's just really demoralizing to not seeing any return for hard
work. I know the saying, find a job you would do for free. I have two.
Archaeology and Art. But eventually you can't be stupid about it.
Unless you are financially secure, working for free isn't really an
option. It's difficult to live on one rather minimal income, and the
stress it's putting on Jen is tough for both of us.

well. You're told your entire life you can do anything you want so long
as you are willing to work for it. But when are you supposed to give
up? Are only those with enough money (whether it's their own or their
family's) to have the luxury to do what they want allowed to do
everything? I really don't want to go back to the grocery store. I've worked so freaking hard to get where I was in my archaeology career (honors, publications, recognition, etc). Now I've put in so much time with the art career. I know I'm at the beginning stages at both, I completely recognize this, but at the same time we can't last much longer without getting a paycheck.

Bleh. Sorry for the rant. I think I'll go cut a bunch of holes in a piece of paper or something:)


D said...

head up man. artists are vital to life being worth living. money will come.

ArtSnark said...

The lackluster sales are going around big time- hang in there! Your work is inspiring.

Have you considered submiting or writing for craft-mags? The artists I chat with on etsy that aren't seeing a downturn in sales appear often in the magazines you find in craft stores.

The other thing they're doing is holding online classes. At around $35-$40 a student for 5 classes.

Good luck to you!Keep up the gorgeous work