Today I paused from cooking dog food and writing magazine pitches. I drew a Venn diagram of one of my primary notebook questions: What is the exterior reach and interior goal of my broad studio practice?
Without an academic career to underwrite my studio output, I rely on multiple sources to prime the spring (Patreon, for instance, pays for my internet). Even if I were a professor, I would still want my practice to exist as a painted mix of research, collaboration, exhibition and publication. As it stands, in order to create a sustaining level of income from my work, I need to sort out how all its different moving parts relate, and where and why they belong in the public realm.
I paint and draw fairly quickly, but the questions I have about humans moving mud and living with water and how we stole/steal access to water, matched with my dog-like fixation on Everything I See, means my overall working process can take a little time. Also, there are the chronic headaches and, when under pressure, I have the intellectual response time of a banana slug. So can I do everything? No.
This diagram, written on water, is to help me clarify which parts of everything I can do.
Is it more effective to reach an audience through an independent publication or through an advocacy organization's own magazines and forums? Won't I bring more attention to a good organization through stories drawn for independent magazines? Would it "compromise my voice" to work with both?
Is my style of documentation relevant to the illustration and story needs of editors?
While I love the independence of making work solely for gallery exhibition, and the experience of viewers seeing the work first-hand is very important to me, the paintings do not sell in a sufficient number (or at a sufficient price) to be my only income. Nor is their audience particularly large; although, thanks to Froelick's welcoming space and outreach, the public audience feels broader than might be expected. It is a good, centering seat in the pool.
I enjoy working outdoors and painting large. I've got years of experience in exterior commercial painting, hundreds of hours in public art fabrication, even a stint in art object conservation, but I've yet to truly crack into work as a muralist. I don't know what to tell you on this. I guess I'm just asking in the wrong places. I'll keep asking. As for advocacy, that's dependent on the context and the commission. I'm still very proud I got to do the Greenpeace Oakland job.
Museums? I'm pretty sure that's out of my hands.
I have not yet given up on giving up on this broad approach to an art career. I'm still checking for job openings as a theatrical set painter or a bookseller. I am not exactly qualified to be an administrative assistant or a development director. If all I can do is earn the time for one show of oil paintings every 18 months, then that's all I can do.
If, however, I can somehow weasel regular, good-paying illustration gigs that parallel the research I do for my larger oil painting shows, then hell, yes, sign me up. They don't even have to parallel.
Hope it wasn't too indulgent to share my thinking here. Getting back to magazine pitches now.
As for Conundrum itself, be advised to pack a shelter. The old ranger cabin has had the roof removed following the cow incident.