On Donating Work

Cancer Sell donationA few months ago I was involved with a project that left a bit of a bad taste in my mouth. It wasn’t the project itself, or the committee I was on, they were both fabulous. It was the reaction of the artists that were involved.

Charity Begins in the Heart

One of the best things about being an artist is knowing that my work can impact the world. It may only be in a small way, with just one person, but even just one drop of water can make a ripple across a lake. So when I see the opportunity to donate some of my work in support of a good cause, I typically jump at it.

What goes through my head in a situation like that is from an attitude of service. How can I help them? What kind of work will bring the greatest good?

What doesn’t go through my head is, “How much commission am I getting?”

A Fundraiser By Definition

When someone puts out an open call for submissions for a fundraiser, in my opinion, all of the money should go to the fundraiser. I don’t ask for money from it. That defeats the purpose to me. It is especially true if the fundraiser is for an organization that I belong to that supports my needs in some way. If I am not the one running it and it earns me money personally – it’s not a fundraiser, it’s a sale.

If I am offered commission, I tell them that I would like to donate it back into the fundraiser; that’s what fundraisers are for, raising funds. I don’t ask for more. I was appalled when I’d heard that the artists the call went out to had refused to be involved, in support of their own arts organization, because they weren’t getting enough commission and had asked for 50%.

I don’t get it and I am happy to say that I do not think like that.

Recycling for Art

The Economy Made Me Do It

If I, by current financial situation, cannot afford to create something because of a lack of supplies – i.e. canvas or watercolor paper – I usually don’t let that stop me. I’ll recycle cereal and food boxes into canvas, whatever it takes. There is always something I can use and art is, by its very nature, invention.

Professional artist or not, I cannot look at an opportunity to help someone and say no because I put too much work into a piece to not make money off of it. My brain doesn’t work like that. I’m an artist. Creating is, thankfully, not a finite thing.

If I run out of canvas, I use paper.
If I run out of paper, I recycle boxes.
If I have no more food boxes, I’ll recycle plastic bags into plarn and knit something.
I’ll draw, paint with nail polish, make dye from plants, whatever I can get my hands on.

But I will NEVER allow money to dictate my creativity. Never.

Money, or a lack thereof, controls everything else in my life. I’ll be damned if I am going to let it keep me from doing what I love.

Work Ethic

I think what it all comes down to is that I apparently have a different outlook on my art and being an artist. I love what I do. I don’t do it for money. If I get money out of it, WOOT. Bonus. If I can bring in enough money to help support my family, DOUBLE WOOT. But money doesn’t motivate my creativity. It just isn’t why I do it.

What about logos and other gigs that are paid work? That’s different. I do get paid for my time, when I’m lucky, but that is contract work and a whole different kind of animal.

Work that I make out of love, I do that to make people smile and maybe brighten a little corner of their world.

abandon_tagv1Create with Abandon

One of the things that I love to do, and am doing more of lately, is abandoning my art.

I joined a group recently on Facebook created by Michael DeMeng called Art Abandonment. The group’s members have been incredibly inspiring and I am proud to be a part of it. I have abandoned art out in the wild before, leaving inchies and art cards in random places or our favorite hang outs. This group has displayed a kind of compassion for others and a passion for their work, though, that I want to help nurture and am looking forward to being involved with.

And making art to give it away to the happiness of others is, in my opinion, by far the greatest payment in itself.

Out of the mouths of babes

The last few days have been spent in as non-vertically bedridden a state as we could manage. My daughter is feeling better now so, communal hermitage disbanded, I am sitting at my desk.

Mostly staring at the screen.

I have managed to weed out my email, though not answer any yet, and log in here. Am I slacking? Why, yes, I am. And I can safely say that I do not like breathing through sand. ::insert blank stare here:: Ok…so what was my point to this? Oh. Yes.

My daughter’s desk is now next to mine and she has decided it was time to make accessories for our Monster High dolls. Val bought her Lagoona Blue for Christmas, then picked up the nerdy-but-wonderful Ghoulia Yelps for me with her awesome librarian-reminiscent, horn-rimmed glasses. My daughter loves making tiny things out of paper, clay, toothpicks, anything I give her permission to raid from the studio or the kitchen. With Lagoona looking on in approval from her handmade, brightly-colored Lego chair, she just finished making pencils out of toothpicks and a coordinating notepad. My Ghoulia had Christmas earlier this year with a bag cover, a book (pre-made), a wallet with tiny bills in it ($12.00, enough for a pizza), and a newspaper with a Have you seen this monster? ad of a zombie. Apparently Ghoulia’s father is missing.

So my daughter asks if she can modify the bottom of a makeup container that I gave her. I tell her no, but that she could make something to fit in the bottom without gluing it in. She comes up with an idea and, after trying to explain to me what she wanted to do (my Mommy Translation Device is apparently non-functional today) she stops, sighs, and starts drawing.

A moment later she shares her drawing with me and says, and I quote, “Mother.” (frustrated) “I have child words of wisdom to spew out.”

Wow. O_O I don’t even know what to say to that other than good word usage? LOL

Think I am going to go lay back down.

Messy love

During the course of my daughter’s art lessons I have had the opportunity to paint again. Though only for an hour, it was nice to have the paint under my nails and up to my knuckles; a lovely, creative mess.

I have been so busy between work, finding work, homeschooling and life (college and everything else) that I haven’t had any urge to do anything creative. I sit up in bed at night and write a couple pages on my novel (read 2am) before finally turning off the light, but I’ve not really been able to dig in and get messy in a while.

A dear friend of mine in India is sending me the text I need to complete this one, as well as an assemblage I am entering into a competition (more later on that).

This one consists of lots of glue, a vintage map of India (since he is an Indian ellie), tissue paper for wonderfully wrinkly skin, and acrylic paint as well as pen and ink. Sharpies work well at times, but my tool of choice is my black Pentel Energel .5mm gel pen.

As soon as the package arrives from India I will complete it and post an update with more photos. I plan to look into making prints of her as well as greeting cards though that will depend on funding. The original may go up on eBay, not sure yet as we are all kind of attached to her.

For now she stands silent on her easel in the corner, waiting, Unrecumbent.

Moments of sanity

I do believe that things happen for a reason though so, when my daughter wanted to paint something for her father yesterday, there was no surprise when I accidentally pulled out two small canvases instead of one. That was all the incentive I needed.

I have not had time for much more than doodling lately and my sanity from day-to-day is, typically, directly related to whether or not I get moments of creativity. I have been wanting to sit down and make something for weeks now and doodling wasn’t cutting it. I needed to dig into something, get paint on my fingers, a brush and pen in my hand, make a mess.

This year, I have had to do a big push for freelance work. Aside from college, homeschooling, household obligations (that tend to get put on the “do later” list), making food and…what am I forgetting, oh yea…sleeping, I haven’t had time to delve into anything. I have stolen moments here and there to write, much easier than dragging out all my paints, but it isn’t the same.

I was sent several small, 5×7 inch canvases in a thank you package from a friend recently. The package itself has taken up semi-permanent residence on the edge of my desk as I’ve yet to sort through it and put everything away. This week, in between work, school, and everything else, I will be completely reorganizing the largest room of our house; three computers and desks on one end, kitchen on the other, art studio/catchall in the middle. It is my hope to move our writer’s meetings here again as it is much more conducive to conversation, we can do and say what we want, and the kitchen is right there.

For now, I steal snippets of sometimes life-saving time to make memories with my daughter.

We laid newspaper out on the dining room table (the dining “room” being part of the aforementioned space) and pulled a few paints, a couple of brushes and palettes. Half an hour later I was refreshed and feeling human again…at least for another week.