What are some challenges or unexpected aspects of life as a working artist?
The amount of responsibilities on my plate on a daily basis force me to be much more of a business person for most of the year than to actually be a filmmaker. And of course the brutal irony is I got into this not because I wanted to run a business, but I wanted to make films.
Jon: One of the biggest challenges for all artists is this idea that the artist is a slacker and is unsuccessful. The notion of a starving artist is absolutely bullshit. People are successful, people are making livings. Yes it is difficult but life is difficult. Trying to run any small business is difficult.
It doesn’t help when people don’t offer living wages to creatives, dealing with this notion that $750 is what’s gonna do you. With the rising cost of living in Denver that’s not a living wage and people aren’t honoring or respecting the craft.
If I wanted to be more vague it would be the business side of it. I’m not a business person.
But if I wanted to pinpoint it, it really is clients. They’re my biggest struggle. And communication. I don’t know how to stay on top of emails or keep emails organized or give people updates throughout the week.
I’m just like the stereotypical artist who stays up all night painting. I choose to do that because that’s the only time my phone isn’t blowing up from clients. But if I stay up all night painting and have a meeting that next morning — and this has happened plenty of times — by the time I’m done painting I crash because I stayed up all night trying to paint for another client.
So all of the things I have to do in the mornings like shipping or emailing or updates, all of that daytime business stuff I sleep through because I stayed up all night painting since that’s the only time my phone is quiet.
That’s the biggest struggle, just balancing clients. If clients would understand they will get their piece, just let me balance it all— that’s why my business is successful, because people get their art. It’s just that I don’t have the answers for how long it will take because I don’t know. I just paint. That’s all I do.