Wednesday, February 27, 2013

a day in the life

Yesterday I was lucky enough to run a workshop with some very awesome year 11s from a Melbourne Girls' School (wrap-up and photos are on the way!) and at the end, one of the students asked me what a regular day was for me. As I was on my way out, I think I blustered something like "ye ghads, it's different every day!" Which is true. However, it is a very valid question, particularly if you are thinking that the path of art and design is one for you.

I thought I'd share some scenarios that can happen in any one day for me, and I know for many other practitioners too. Having said that - some of my colleagues have very different set ups! It is all dependent on your living situation, who you live with, if you have children, if you have another job etc etc etc. In my situation, I live an hour out of Melbourne with my Artist-Husband-of-Joy. When we work in Melbourne, we try and arrange to travel together (it's more economic and means we can spend more time together - yay!).

Pin-board in my studio: ideas, inspiration, reminders, random stuff

The standard Monday to Friday 9-5 week has never applied to me. I'm not sure if I could do it. I work every day, Monday to Sunday. I don't always work all day, sometimes a few hours and other days I will work till 11 at night. Sometimes I will have a random day off. I find these difficult, because I feel that there is something constructive that I could be doing. I tend to mooch on these days, reading books, avoiding housework and taking nanna-naps. I love having days off mid-week, and having empty caf├ęs all to myself.

Being an artist can mean:
  • Some days I am a shop girl in  Windsor. I and sell clothes and jewellery.
  • Some days I am a waitress in Kyneton. (I have only done this once in my life - on Monday. I may do it again. I haven't definitely decided.)
  • Some days I am an editorial assistant in South Yarra. I check, read, number, compare and mark up manuscript pages and occasionally do the coffee run.
  • Some days I am a proofreader in South Yarra, Kyneton, Berlin (it depends where I am living). I read documents and check them for grammatical and content errors.
  • Some days I am a Yoga teacher trainee in Prahran. This is my current standard Thursday. I go to lectures and learn heaps of cool stuff about how to be a Yoga teacher.
  • Some days I am Studio Girl. I could fill a page with what this can involve (maybe tomorrow). This is where I stay at my home studio in Kyneton and work on my art practice, which can be making, thinking, and admining (blogging, invoicing, phone-calling, proposal-writing, grant-writing, book-keeping - you name it). I work in the studio on most days, often before/after I am doing my non-art jobs.
  • Some days I am Workshop Girl - I go and meet a group of interesting people and share my practice with them, and (hopefully) help them develop their own ideas and skills, which fills me with much happiness and excitement! 
And some days I procrastinate.

Most of these activities are interwoven with daily coffee with my Husband (mandatory), meetings about exhibitions, cooking a week's worth of dinners, yoga classes, and a little bit of thrashing around, moaning "why oh WHY am I an artist!? I'll STAAAAAARVE!!!" and then going and having an overpriced latte around the corner.

I am fortunate to live with someone who is in the same position as me - crazy hours, weird pay and a billion different 'other' jobs (Kent is completing his PhD, tutoring 1st years at Monash Uni, teaching an adult education class in Castlemaine, a communications advisor for a vintage furniture business in Kyneton, an arts writer, curator and working on his own art practice - phew!) so we get to share the woes and wonders of our chosen lives. However, many of my friends and colleagues have partners or family who hold steady 9-5 jobs and can support them in other ways too. Some of my friends have to factor children in the mix, and are therefore more structured. All of them have had shit-kicker jobs at some point.

It's a pretty good life. If you love doing it - you won't be able to help yourself, it will just come.


1 comment:

  1. I relate to this very much, but do you know what's funny? I feel like I am less structured because I have to factor in my child, rather than more so, like your friends. I suppose he is only very young still though, and I am a bit of flakey mother.

    You will not starve. You will always get by and find a way to make it work.


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