this has been weighing on me for a long time.
i did that huge bipolar series in 2015. it was a fantastic experience but it left me completely drained. i didn’t paint for nearly a year afterward, not until october of last year when i realized i had better make some new work for EAST so that i wasn’t showing just my old stuff.
and i haven’t painted since.
i dunno, i’m just not feelin’ it anymore. it’s not a matter of not wanting to make the 20+ minute drive to the studio, i don’t mind that. it’s not a matter of the lack of A/C in the brutal texas summer; been there, done that. it’s just that every time i go in there to drop off the rent, it feels like the past. like it’s something i used to do but don’t anymore.
i’m so reluctant to give it up though because if i ever decide i want a studio again i’ll never find one this cheap. and it’s a prime space for EAST. thing is, if i desperately had to paint, i could be using acrylics at home, no studio required. the only reason i have a separate space is because i use encaustic and don’t want any vapors harming my parakeets. but guess what, i’m not painting at home either.
i have slashed prices to ridiculous and desperate lows in order to move paintings; the other piece of all this is that i have a 5′ x 5′ storage unit full of unsold work that is costing me money every month. i have never had illusions of making a profit or even breaking even with this, i just want people to buy my art and enjoy it. i’ve sold roughly half of the paintings i’ve done which is pretty good, i think. but what to do with the other half? that’s the thing. that’s always been my thing with art — so you make this beautiful thing, now what the hell do you do with it? where exactly do you put it? where to keep it or store it? i have too much stuff as it is! i don’t have room in my house for any of this, not the paintings and certainly not all the studio paraphernalia.
i (like many other artists) am not of an entrepreneurial bent; i’ve not been very good at getting my things out there into the world. my only showings have pretty much been EAST, the occasional WEST, and a couple random shows here and there in the area. so i really have no cause to complain about not selling when i haven’t been that proactive about contacting galleries and such. i just automatically assume i’m not gallery material, which is bullshit thinking — how do you know if you’ve never even asked? i’m like “oh i’m not that great, i’m just starting out” but the reality is, i’ve been “just starting out” for five years now. to use a crude aphorism from my rural upbringing, it’s time to shit or get off the pot. i’ve already had two other personal business ventures fail; it’s clear i don’t have the aptitude for it. i should be putting together a super-glossy portfolio and mailing out packets to every gallery i can find within 500 miles. but say (just say) they want me in marfa somewhere. there’s the cost of going to marfa to install the show. there’s the cost of going to marfa to take down the show. either that or SHIP it all back and forth and hope the encaustic doesn’t melt sitting in a hot UPS van for three days. even if i sold ten paintings it’d be difficult to recoup the costs, especially considering the gallery would want at least 50%. “oh but think of the exposure.” the blunt truth is, i don’t have the fucking resolve that it takes to grind away at this for thirty more years, which is about how long it takes.
this has been eating at me for at least a year. my psychiatrist says i’m probably more attached to the idea of having a studio than to actually having one. he’s probably right.
what i think i’m gonna do is this: hang on for one more EAST — the open call and application process is coming soon anyway, like maybe even this week. work on getting rid of as much art as possible and selling as much of my equipment as i can, and move out once EAST is over with.
i think it’ll be a relief once it’s behind me. once i’ve actually made a decision everything becomes easy. it’s actually making one that’s the tough part.