I’ve been putting off writing this for a while now. For the past month I’ve been going over and over how I wanted to approach talking about what’s been going on in my life and work but the idea of writing about everything that’s been happening was upsetting and I’ve fallen behind.
As of the end of June, my studio was evicted. It almost feels like an SF rite of passage now to be uprooted and told to leave with a month’s notice. Everything came at a particularly bad time, too, with a trip to the east coast in the middle of last month and a craft show coming up this weekend.
At start of 2016 I was so optimistic about my business and my work. I had finally quit my retail job and I had lots of plans about producing on a larger scale and dedicating more time to growing my business. But, here we are, with 2016 more than half-way over and that plan’s gone far off track. And the added stress of having to pack up my whole operation made me question whether I can hack it as a working artist.
To make things worse, on top of losing my studio, certain events led to us not being able to fire our kilns before we were kicked out, leaving my studio mates and I with a lot of work that was unfinished. I also unexpectedly lost the support of a retailer I thought was going to be a good space for my work. Everything coalesced into one seemingly insurmountable roadblock and I found myself stuck in a cycle of depression and anxiety.
I wanted to write this post not for sympathy but to be more open about the struggles I’ve been facing as an artist. Being a working artist is really difficult and I know that there are many out there that face similar challenges. Trying to support myself as an artist has been so stressful and induces such anxiety sometimes that I almost wish I were back at a regular job with set hours and a consistent paycheck. Trying to be my own boss has been lonely, I don’t have a support structure of people who are able to help me grow my business and having to consistently keep powering through has been exhausting. I think a lot of independent artists eventually give up because of this, it feels so easy to burn out.
And recently I’ve definitely felt that exhaustion. I feel tired of pushing myself to churn out new work, I’m tired of having to self-promote, I’m tired of rejections, and I’m so damn tired of pushing the rock up the hill just to watch it roll back down. Everyone keeps asking me if I have a new studio or not but in all honesty I’m not really in a hurry to find a new space quite yet. I’ve felt so drained by everything that’s been going on that I feel like I have no motivation to keep making art on the scale I was before. I’ve lost my drive and feel creatively stuck.
It’s been difficult finding the balance between making pottery because I love the process and making work to make a profit, and I think that’s something a lot of creative business owners struggle with. I love what I do and I like sharing my work with other people but making art is a little less fun with the added stress of the hustle of making money from it. I feel like I was more caught up in trying to keep my business sustainable that I lost sight of why I make art in the first place.
So, this isn’t the end of me making ceramics, but in the meantime I want to spend some time exploring other media and working on ideas for future projects. I think that being away from my studio could be what I needed, allowing me to take a step back and reconsider my options. Hopefully this will allow me the time to work on personal projects without the stress of having to make a profit off of my art. Who knows, maybe this was all for the best as I reevaluate what I love about creating art.
Peace out, #14. It’s been real.
On a much brighter note: THIS WEEKEND I will be showing at the San Francisco Renegade Craft Fair!
I’ll be selling ceramics (including some stuff I’m very proud of from the last firing at my studio), shirts, patches and more this weekend (July 16th and 17th), along with over 300 other talented artists. Come find me at booth #156 from 11-6 at the Fort Mason Center!