We tend to define creativity in very narrow terms. We’re heavily influenced when we see professionals in the creative arts (who have chosen, by profession, to be creative) and compare their output to ours. In that context, our creativity is … Continue reading
“If you don’t know where you’re going, you might not get there.” —Yogi Berra Being prompted by a WordPress Daily Prompt, State of Your Year, is a great way to start a regular habit: assessing where you’re at mid-way through the year, … Continue reading
I got into the business of fine art printing (and later, out) to satisfy a need: mine. As a fine art photographer who’s gained some local reknown by photographing an ongoing series I call Vanishing Austin (since 2004), I was … Continue reading
Being an artist involves a lot of schlepping, which is not something you are trained for in art school.
(Come to think of it, are you trained for anything in art school? But we digress.)
Schlepping is pretty much thought of as hauling, carrying, lugging, dragging a burdensome load (with some interesting deviations from google.com) . . . and artists have many, many opportunities to practice schlepping in their art practice. Schlepping canvases, paints, brushes, solvents, easels, and more, back and forth from supplier to studio. Then there’s the schlepping of framing, glass, framed pieces, finished artworks, etc. back and forth to coffee shops that agree to exhibit the work, to art festivals where artists withstand the elements to get known, and to art galleries that agree to show their work. Then back to the studio with the art that doesn’t sell. Commitment to your art involves commitment to schlepping, too.
Was there a Professor of Schlepology in the fancy art school you graduated from? Not likely. Wouldn’t artists become discouraged in undergraduate school if they learned that their career success owed a heavy debt to the art of schlepping?
Photographers schlep as well, on a near-daily basis, and all the more so if they are location photographers. And no matter how small memory cards get, cameras and lenses and lights and battery packs and laptops and handy gear never seem to get smaller. Even when they do get smaller, there are still more small nifty accessories to add to the camera bag.
Photographers, at least, are able to solve the schlepping problem by hiring lowly young assistants-in-training. Assistants work for the more established professionals in order to learn from them, and then end up learning how to schlep, too.
Artists are a bit more on their own to become creative when it comes to schlepping. You can go through friends who are willing to schlep pretty quickly in this career.
There are some successful artists who have solved the schlepping problem rather neatly by choosing their partners wisely. I was quite envious upon meeting the husband of a noted Austin-area artist who rather cheerfully introduced himself to her studio visitors as “the artist’s slave.” While the artist’s statement lists many accomplishments in abstract and expressionistic painting, she does not list “schlepping” among them. Apparently she owes all the schlepping her success entails to her husband, the self-described “artist’s slave.”
Artists whose spouses would never describe themselves as “artist’s slaves” nonetheless understand the important role they play in (literally) supporting their creative mates. “See, I just schlep what she tells me to,” one artist’s husband explained to me. They schlep the artwork around, from the art studio to openings and art fairs and back again. Thus their appearances at openings and festivals are understood to be mandatory–especially since they’ve schlepped all of the art in and out.
How much time have you spent schlepping v. creating in your art career? What are your strategies to minimize the schlepping, and maximize the making, of art?
Twitter, I am madly, deeply, head over heels with you.
Please let’s just keep this our little secret.
Why? Well, first off, Facebook won’t be pleased. In the short time we’ve been an item, Facebook has come to believe it rules my personal and work life with total dominance, and wants me to pay attention to every little inane detail of the meaningless existence led by everyone Facebook ever suggested should be my friend.
And Facebook is so demanding, always suggesting this game or that app or some invitation or something I’m required to like or comment on. I really hated the way Facebook pestered me relentlessly to unlock something or answer a fake-psych question or worse, to go live on a farm–and I mean, get real, I am clearly more a city girl.
Sorry for the rant. I just know Facebook won’t let go of me easily, that’s all.
Second reason, twitter, that we should keep this on the QT, is that most everyone I know doesn’t really understand you. Isn’t that classic? You have so much more to offer than my friends can even comprehend, but they think you’re just a flash in the pan of my life. You’re not all bells and whistles like my ex, Facebook, is–so they underestimate you.
At their peril!
And then there’s the problem with commitment, twitter. If I go public with my insane infatuation with you, well, I could be setting myself up for a fall. I’m still a little raw over the Facebook breakup, if you must know. It was just so public. And just so wrong, the way Facebook revealed all of our sweet little nothings without really asking permission. As if we’d never really meant something to each other.
Anyway, twitter, for now you are just right for me, you know, since it’s never smart to get too heavily invested in rebound relationships. You flatter me easily and often with my many followers–I get a little high every time you alert me to a new admirer. Flattery, twitter, will get you everywhere! Plus–and this is huge–you just get me, and accept me for who I say I am, without that inquisition I always got from Facebook: What are your interests? Where did you go to school? Are you in a relationship? Can I raid your friends’ contact info to cozy up to them, too?
And you’re witty, twitter, very clever much of the time, well-versed on so many subjects, so easy to be around, easy to follow too, always there for me, but you don’t get all deep on me or demand too much of me.
In fact, you really don’t demand anything but 140 little characters, at most, in my time, on my terms, not anyone else’s. And that is the beginning of a beautiful relationship.
Until we meet up again later tonight–