Wednesday, May 20, 2009

are you optimistic?

We feel upbeat despite the recession! Onward and Upward!

The Times' profile of the uptick in creativity (despite loss of gigs, unemployment, etc) resonates well with what we heard at the Smack Down last week: (listen to the audio version blogged on 5/13!)

MAKE GREAT WORK
DO LESS WITH LESS
SLOW DOWN
BE STRATEGIC
MAKE GREAT WORK AGAIN
BE BOLD, TAKE A RISK, MAKE A FULL-EVENING WORK

The underlying lesson I keep coming back to:
Know thyself, and to thine own self be true.

Huh?
What does success mean TO YOU? not to your folks, not to the "community", not to your partner. But to you. And how are YOU going to manifest it?

Do you want to make $100k annually from your art? Ok, then you may have to do very specific things to get that (big day job with big salary? sugar daddy/mam? accessible/sexy/user-friendly art?)

Do you want Times reviews, Bessies/Obies, grants, notoriety, international touring, record contracts, Grammys etc etc? How are you going to make that happen?

Can you live on $12,000 a year happily
and without credit card debt?

Do you want to barter for space, props, talent, supplies etc?

Do you just want to make your work, have a few people come see it, make more work, make better work?

What do you want to do and HOW are you going to do it? Answer that question for yourself, and ask it often. And then get empowered financially around your unique and individual response to YOUR LIFE AND YOUR WORK (I am shouting in all caps).

How do you get empowered financially you ask? I will add a list of services, books, consultants, sites tomorrow.

Back to The Times' article:
The most optimistic artist profiled in Robin Pogrebin's piece: Liz Fallon of Portland, ME seems to have an intact day job (customer service for a direct-marketing firm). Not to be a pessimist, but what happens to her sunny optimism if/when she gets laid off?

The photographer profiled was the only? full-time working artist mentioned. And he IS hurting (fewer gigs, layoffs etc).

The hyper-talented and uber-smart Karl Allen (formerly TD at PS122) is doing a lot of life questioning about how to survive and how to do what he loves most. Tell me Karl!!

We all know it - artists are nimble, ambitious, resilient and deeply attuned to life's exigencies. I am thoroughly optimistic and wholly inspired by all the big thinking, big listening, and hard questioning. THANK YOU for smacking it down...

1 comment:

Karl said...

This is great!

I feel optimistic when I see financial realities stated in plain view for us all to see. Case studies of people saying they feel good or despondent don't really speak to me as much as Jennifer's questions above do.

What does security look like for me?

What financial potential lies in my particular configuration of abilities and artistic sensibilities?

I feel optimistic when I begin practicing Kaizan with the projects I'm involved in (daily, thoughtful, iterative improvement) and stop watching ladders I wasn't really interested in climbing anyway topple to the ground.