New Painting Series by the grossly undercompensated Julie Hiltbrunner
This is unusual for me to spend any time talking about the difficulties of being a creative person. And I’d hate to complain because it truly is THE life. But before you envy that life you have to know that there will be financial compensation, but it will be hideously small… so small you will cry right into your dogs fur while curled up in a ball around her. Ask me how I know. Okay, so I forgot for a moment that EVERYTHING IS AWESOME! It is awesome… read on.
You will worry, sweat and bleed. You will get your name and a photo of your work in the local paper. You will have photo of your work published in beautiful hardbound books. People will find you incredibly interesting at dinner parties, hopefully. And there will be wordy blog posts written about you. But, there is no money in original work. The two finest artists that I know personally are consistently late paying their rent and are no strangers to having the electricity turned off for non-payment. They both live here in Texas which means that not having A/C can kill if you don’t have somewhere else to go. If it weren’t for my dear, hard working husband and some very generous contributions from a family member or two, I couldn’t go on living the creative life full-time and would have to go back (kicking and screaming) to a desk job.
I did the career thing and wasn’t great at my office bound job. I was good enough to fool everyone into thinking I was giving my all. I did my work and I was even good at it, but I had so much more to give that was squandered by the management. I’m a creative. It’s a different breed. We don’t just want to create, we need it like we need water. It’s a matter of life and death. If I could no longer even dream up ideas of things to make I would not want to live. But that would be considered brain dead and at that point and you could go ahead an pull the plug. Perhaps we are all creatives.
You will also be told that your work is too expensive.
The reason this is brewing inside me today is that I took out my calculator and came to the conclusion that a full-time minimum wage earner makes just under 15K per year… assuming there is no overtime. I made less than a third of that last year. After piling up all my expenses, (not including the cost of health insurance) and subtracting that number from my sales I made way less than minimum wage. One way to change that would be to pass the buck and have my work made by less than minimum wage people in another country. But, let’s not even go there.
Recently, I got motivated to paint again due to that coffee house above that I drive past every weekday.
I had hardly painted since the time my first and only child was born. I was trying to paint at home and he was always active, distracting and wanting to “paint, too.” So I only painted now and again… and it was a good thing to take a long break and work almost entirely on jewelry. I had time to come up with a plan and time to work out a style that I wanted to go with in jewelry and a style I want to work on in painting. My painting had been very schizophrenic (in the way the word is colloquially used.) Every painting had a different personality. But just this month I came up with a theme for my paintings that will carry through my work until I need to find a new theme. My current theme is this small town in Texas in which I live.
It started like this. I was sitting in the bleachers watching my son’s baseball practice when I saw an antique house driving down the road. No kidding! Just heading down Bankhead Highway on the back of a Semi’s trailer. It’s that old house in my painting, above. I knew something was up big time. So apparently, this guy gets free houses in one of those “if you move it, it’s yours free,” deals. Well, he’s been moving them, restoring them and renting them out. So these pieces of history from when houses had craftsmanship are being moved and restored and turned into commercial rental spaces.
So anyway, I’m creating a series of paintings of the local culture here that defines the values here and values craftsmanship. I’ll be showing my painting series and my jewelry at FIRST FRIDAY IN ALEDO, JUNE 6th, 2014 5-9 PM Fireworks to follow! YAY!
I told you EVERYTHING IS AWESOME!