Recently a local elementary school assigned students to interview someone who has a career they thought they might like. One of the students interviewed an Art Mecca artist. Several things surprised the young interviewer, such as how many hours her subject worked and how "normal" her life was otherwise. Here's a day in the life of an artist - does anything surprise you?
"What does a typical day look like for you?"
I get up every morning at 6 a.m., have coffee, go for a short run, walk my dogs, and then by 8 a.m. I'm ready to go to work.
From 8 to 11 I usually work at the computer returning emails, writing up descriptions of pieces that are getting ready to go to the gallery, photoshoping pictures for my website, and crafting social media posts.
If I need to go to a gallery or ship a piece of art, I do that first thing in the morning. I also use this time to log art into a spreadsheet. Between galleries, shows, and loaning work out to interior designers, it's easy to lose track of what is where.
At noon I have a peanut butter sandwich. Same thing every day because it's fast. After lunch I work on the "foundations" of art for a couple of hours- which involves a lot of woodworking for me. For other artists it's prepping canvases or hauling clay or mixing paint and things like that. Boring stuff!
My favorite part of the day is around 2 or 3 p.m when I actually get to make art for two or three hours. I try to relax and have fun. By 5 or 6 I clean up and get ready to have dinner with my family, maybe take the dogs for a walk, or sit out on the porch and catch up.
What's your favorite part of your job?
Making something from my imagination a reality so other people can see it too. And, I like that I have an excuse to talk to curators and other artists all the time. I also like staying home to work.
What's your least favorite part?
Woodworking when it's 100 degrees. Book keeping. Splinters and blisters. I also don't like using the miter saw. It's loud and scary.
What surprises you about your job?
I didn't think there would be so much administrative work. Or math.
What other skills besides art do you think a young person who wants to be an artist should learn?
Okay, don't freak out. But honestly, you need to pay attention in school if you want to make a living as an artist.
First, find out what makes you different. Then make art about that. Just create what makes you happy. Learn to do things yourself, like websites and photography. You don't want to pay people to do that for you. Making art is a whole lot of hard work, but it's also really fun. It's worth it.