Thursday, January 31, 2008

Jack of all trades, Master of none

One of the things I always seem to be angry about is my tendency to change horses midstream. (Is that the phrase?) I took ballet from age six to ten, then decided I'd rather ice skate. So I was a crappy ballerina and also a crappy ice skater. I could have been one or the other and been it well, but I wasn't. This pattern has continued my whole life.

I worked in the social work field for two years. I worked in the sales field for what, five or six years total. But I don't want to do that, I want to be an artist. Or do something with the community. Or maybe try social work again. Or make a lot of money, which means none of the above. I'd also like to be a writer. Or a teacher. Also maybe a librarian or a carpenter. Or a crafter, with my own business. Of course, most of those require more schooling, which I don't feel like doing. I just want to jump in without committing to more fat stacks of student loans.

I do this with my promoting - I'm on MySpace, I'm on Facebook, Etsy, Craigslist, the Post Star, the Chronicle, the Saratogian, the Times Union, LARAC, Google Calendar, my website, IndiePublic, my blog is on Blogger--no wait! It's on LiveJournal. Well, how about both? I'll have a blog for idioms and a blog for my art. And a blog for my political beliefs and a blog for my every single thought. Plus the MySpace blog. And the private journal. And my art journal. I'm hanging posters up in The Shirt Factory, I'm hanging them up all over, I'm on message boards, I'm in the NCAC newsletter, the LARAC newsletter, the Killington Arts Guild newsletter, the Watercolor Society newsletter, I'm sending mass emails, I'm all over the fricken place like a crazy person and you know what? If I was earning an hourly pay for all my running around talking myself up, I'd be super duper rich. But I must be doing a crap job. I'd say right now I might be earning myself five cents an hour. Whoopee.

I do this with my art, too. Okay, I'm a watercolorist. No I'm not, I'm a mixed media artist. My work is autobiographical and experimental. Except for that Britney Spears one. Britney Spears is not a part of my life story. And the one I painted of a model that I don't know. And all those goddamn landscapes I painted because people like goddamn landscapes. Also, I like acrylics. And painting on wood. And photography. I'm a photographer! Also, I paint with my hair. Actually, I do idiom cartoons, I'm not autobiographical at all. Well, I'm doing decorative things now to sell on etsy even thou nobody's buying them. I do whimsical cartoons of little kids. I do custom graphic arts work. I'm a website designer. I'm doing paintings writing out all my insecurities. Now I only paint on windows. I paint on glass. I'm super edgy and in your face! I'm going to make art magazines because i'm so edgy and controversial. I'm guts-baring. Actually, that's tough because people might pick on me so I'll say the same thing except quieter, and I'll erase half of it. I'm cryptic. I paint on huge boards that have been covered with gesso. Maybe I'll start a business selling chainmaille jewelry. I'm a teacher, I teach classes. I want to change the world with my art! I'm political. I'm environmental. I'm feminist. I want to learn to sew. I want to silkscreen. I want to learn ceramics. I want to revisit welding. I want a welding studio! I will only make huge sculptures. I want to make jewelry. I use found objects in my art. I'll just make notecards, actually. My style is impressionist, kind of. No, i mean cartoony. I will do cartoons in newspapers! Actually, I only do abstract pieces with lots of texture.

This drives me crazy. Because it's bad business. If you want to be an expert at anything, if you want to succeed at anything, if you want to make money, you have to be a recognizable person. You have to have a style. A brand. Use the same colors in each piece, or the same brushstrokes, or characters, or hell, even the same freaking medium. You can't be all over the place like this. Renoir does ballerinas. Georgia O'Keefe does flowers. Gus Fink does horror. Pollock does paint drips. Casey Dwyer does funky feathery headbands and neckerchiefs. Tom Myott does stained-glass horses. Betty O'Brien does bright colors and birds.

I don't have a brand, I don't have a style, I don't have a medium. I don't have one website as the go-to, or even one goddamn blog. And that's just how I am. I get bored. I have too many ideas to just pick one thing and do it to death. But it gets me down that I really know better, I really know that it's smart business to have a "look"... but I just can't stay put. I get angry with myself over that.

Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go cross-post this in my personal LiveJournal, my LiveJournal art blog, and my MySpace blog.

1 comment:

Gus said...

hey kate,
i think its good to do many things , i often feel the same way- i dont only do horror if i did life would be much simpler , also boring -
Ive written a book , make music , stand up comedy- did album art for bands , did graphic design work for my toys display boxed ect ect-
written and illustrated comics , sculpted toys and designed plush dolls such as Bright Eyed Girls a girl doll line - very different for me - but thats the challenge we got to take as artist -
be confident in all you do and enjoy it -
its good to have a wide range - hope this helps , even if just a lil -