Keeping It Real

Recently I did some serious soul-searching, borne out of concern for the future in this bleak economy, and out of a perceived need for a more financially stable existence. I even briefly considered a "what if", as in, what if I gave up my full-time artist status and got a full-time job again? Well, for one thing, I'd be going backward in my career, not forward. I'd either have to give up my art entirely, or else be working eighty hour weeks, two full-time jobs. Neither scenario seemed appealing nor realistic. What, give up everything I've worked for? Furthermore, I wondered what kind of job I would qualify for on this little island where employment options are quite limited due to my immigration status as a foreigner, my lack of work experience in the few local industries, and the economic climate. Leaving the islands for greener pastures was not an option. I began to feel trapped in a gilded cage and that did not sit well with me.

So what were the choices? I came to some tough decisions and to a place of freedom. After all the soul-searching, my choice was to forge ahead as full-time artist, re-think some of the ways I do business, work on a financial plan, realize how blessed I am to be doing what I love whether it is or isn't always financially profitable, and to stop worrying so much. And to never stop making art. Most importantly, I will continue to find joy in making art without allowing money-making to hinder the creative process. These were my choices.

Artists, how are you maintaining a balance between making art for art's sake and making money from your work? Do you ever feel like you've "sold out"? What does it mean to sell out, anyway?

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