Some years ago someone asked me what I was willing to sacrifice for my art. My first thought was that I wasn’t willing to sacrifice anything. My thinking was that when presented with a choice I would pick what I wanted and the result wasn’t a "sacrifice" but was instead simply a choice. Sure I was choosing to forgo some things in exchange for time or money for my art but it wasn’t a "sacrifice". That sounds so negative to me. So I looked up the definition and sure enough sacrifice is probably the right word.
a: destruction or surrender of something for the sake of something else b : something given up or lost
Any time I make a choice to work on my art or focus some aspect of my life on my art I’m sacrificing the opportunity to place that focus somewhere else. I generally have no problem making these choices and they feel right. It’s okay with me there are things I don’t have time or money or energy to do because of the priority I give my art.
The stereotypical sacrifice artists are expected to make is that of living as a starving artist while waiting for the art to take off. I’m clearly not doing this. And for ridiculous reasons there are times when I feel as if I am not a legitimate artist because I’m not willing to make such a sacrifice. Which is just silly because there is no right way to be an artist.
I choose to work the fulltime well paying software engineering job with excellent benefits because it allows me to focus 100% on creating art I want to make, not art that will put food on my table.
In exchange for the freedom to grow as an artist in any direction I chose and the luxury of not worrying about health insurance, 401k funds, and my mortgage, I have sacrificed my time. Not just studio time but also time for just about everything else in my life: friends, family, house, recreation, etc.
I think there are times it sounds like I regret or resent this decision and that is not the case. Years ago I came up with a plan on how to reach my end goal of becoming the artist I wanted to be. This was the sacrifice I was willing to make, that I happily make every day.
The decision to sell my work this year is not a change in direction but part of the same over all plan that will help me achieve my long term artistic goals.
Admittedly there are days I wish I could just win the lottery and the past few months I’ve been a bit restless but I know the choice to continue working until my children are out of high school is the right choice for me at this time.
If all goes well I only have 7 more years to go, which really isn’t very much in the long run. I’ve been at my day job for 5 years now so I’m almost half way done. I just have to keep my focus and not forget the long term goals and the sacrifice doesn’t feel like a sacrifice at all. Just a really great choice I made to live the life I want and make the art I want to make.
Structures #61 is the second piece in the grouping of 3 I want to show this week. It was also completed last year. Below is a detail of the quilting stitches as they comprise a major portion of the design in this piece.
Detail of Structures #61: