I highly recommend the book Living and Sustaining a Creative Life, a book of 40 artist essays edited by Sharon Louden.
From these successful artists, you’ll discover:
- You are not alone.
- The life of an artist doesn’t get easier with success. More people depend on you as you add to your list of obligations.
- All artists struggle to find balance between studio time and family time. The mothers in the book say that kids have forced them to be productive. There is no time to waste.
- Socializing and self-promotion are necessary. As is writing.
- Art might happen in the private confines of the studio, but a career requires all kinds of connections outside of the studio. You must learn to work well with others.
Not to Be Missed
I really enjoyed essays by Peter Drake and Richard Klein. Drake writes about the numerous academic positions he has had and his gallery relationships. He says, “The idea of a primary dealer who is in control of your entire professional life is almost extinct. Most galleries do not have the staff to engage in real career development, and so that has fallen more to the artist to accomplish than the dealer.”
Klein is both artist and curator who rises before dawn to start his work. I appreciated his words about the importance of seeking inspiration outside of the studio for a full and creative life: “. . . the solitary world of the studio doesn’t consistently provide the inspiration I require for a full and active intellectual life.”
Read the Kate Shepherd essay for an accounting of how she gets help from her assistants.
And don’t miss Julie Blackmon‘s humor. I practically laughed out loud as she told of balancing studio time and a 12-year-old kid who wants Nacho Cheese Doritos for dinner. When she starts a new piece, she gives herself “permission to be a really bad mother for a few days.”
But you should read all of the essays. There are little gems from each artist.