The inconsistency has been due to a series of windows I've climbed through over the last few months. Each window gains access to a robust, bountiful tree on the other side; a tree that bares the fruits of opportunity. I have picked the fruits that are within reach and have tasted the rich juices of inspiration that flow from the flesh, following a break in the skin from each contiguous bite. In the meanwhile, I pass by my works-in-progress that sit still in my "studio" (read: crammed into the corner of our tiny apartment living room), the most recent layers of oil paint dried by weeks since applied, yearning for a fresh coat like a neglected houseplant for water. I shake my head and scold myself for putting them off once again as I walk out the door.
As frustrated as I make myself seem, I am actually thankful for these moments - I recognize them as gifts that the universe has volleyed back in response to my cry for something different; something that could shock some life into drudgery of the day-to-day routine; something that would help me contribute to a cause that falls beyond the walls of the introverted box I've constructed around myself. It took a lot of footwork to attain it, but I feel grateful to finally have generated some momentum in my life. Now to knock down these walls...
Not too long ago I felt as though I was just floating through life in a lifesaver, treading water in the middle of the ocean. My anxieties started to roil as I became concerned with what I was doing with my life and who I am as an individual. I knew I loved art, so I got my shit together and enrolled in the art program at University. As intense as the work load was, the experience truly hoisted me from out of the water onto its shoulder and offered me a three-hundred-and-sixty degree view of all the potential that lay beyond what I had only known as the ocean's endless and hopeless horizon.
After I received my degree, I was released from academia and plopped back into the same, placid body of water. And, for better or for worse, I have been bobbing around for almost a year. I have, however, worked up a moderate paddle, but still tethered by a part-time job just to make rent and pay bills. As an artist, I don't prefer it, but in order to get the debtors off of my back by repaying every cent I owe them, it's just the way it is. I am, however, awake and I am swimming toward something. There is, literally, an entire world to explore. I also have a good portion of life left to live in ways that are both inspiring and gratifying. I don't want to remain in this same body of water any longer.
I am only in the building stages of my artist career, so I am probably far from generating an income necessary to survive solely on my art. Therefore, I endure four days of absolutely mind-numbing, physical labor each week (I know, I know - cue the "whaaaaabulance"). The hours aren't much, but it's the way I prefer it to be - this four day work week allows me three full days away from my job. Not only am I able to designate one full day to run errands and do bullshit chores, but the other two days I can spend all day painting or even take an odd job for some extra scratch. In an attempt to phase out of this and any future reliance on a part-time job (eventually eclipsing them from my life), I have to put in work. To increase the chances for this to occur, I have tapped into some choice outlets that stir up some waves and break up the monotony.
I don't want to sound ungrateful for my job -I am very fortunate; and I absolutely adore and have the utmost respect for the people I work with - but I've come to the realization that this type of work is not for me anymore and it is the bane of my artistic existence. I feel that my creative child is being strangled when, for four days, I must neglect the withering plants in my living room studio (paintings, remember?) and force myself to dismiss the fact that I am an artist and I want to make art. My employment is in retail and can be quite labor-intensive - by the end of each work shift, I am so exhausted and drained of any sort of creative residue that, once I get home, art is the last thing I want to do with my time. In these moments, my energy reserves deplete and my paddling slows back to a steady tread - but I refuse to go down drowning.
If there are any two things I absolutely lack in both skills and interest, they are sports and business affairs. Upon learning in school that self-promotion is a key ingredient to becoming a successful artist, I feel particularly daunted. I enjoy a great deal of alone time - it helps me think and mull things over, so I spend a lot of time in and around my home. I still have every intention on engaging the public head-on with my art, but it's something I need time to work up to. And in doing so, I have come to realize that, no matter how unconventional a job may be, the opportunity to make money is all around and it awaits to be sought.
In order to supplement my own endeavors and further my creative ambitions, I have turned to things like extras work for film and television. I have also been able to land a few gigs that involve commercial and print work for some regional clients of local agencies. It's obvious that my particular choices are not everyone's cup of tea, but for me, the work is random enough so that it is damn near impossible to have the same experience twice...and I gets paid.
The rat race has become very dull to me. These 'puddle' type jobs become stale and end up extremely uninspiring and void of any creative or intellectual challenges to overcome. The corporate ladder is one that I have no intention on climbing, so this keeps me in a very drab frame of mind while I'm spending hours at a place in which I have no personal investments, other than to receive a paycheck.
I prefer to work toward my own dreams instead of the dreams of someone else. I enjoy change. I like everything to be fresh and flowing like a stream. To make progress, risks must be taken. The upheaval of comfort heightens the senses and piques the brain's ability to assess a situation with unconventional thinking and strategic execution. In the end, a particular resolve to a challenge might or might not have worked, but it is the journey by which it is arrived that makes the effort worthwhile. This is what I love so much about art.
Some people float. Others are caught in the current. I'm swimming to shore.