…is the answer I am constantly telling people when they ask me if I “make lots of money selling my art”.
It has always been a pain in the $%# to describe how many and what types of jobs I have and why I have them. I actually have two other jobs besides the “full time” job of being an artist. For this post, however, I will focus on only one of my jobs, the one I spend the most time at outside of my studio. I’ll tell you more about my other job in a later post.
So, back to the main job. Well, most people think when they see me on Saturdays in the exhibit halls at the Field Museum or at an opening night event or selling my art in a fine arts fair, that I must get to draw and paint all day and everyday. Well, hate to tell you all but “I do have another job to pay the bills”.
Don’t get me wrong. I would never and do not ever complain about my job because, unlike others, I LOVE and ENJOY what I do and where I work. I have this job to pay the bills so I can buy more art supplies in order to fulfill “MY CREATIVE PASSION” in the studio. It amazes me when people tell me to just sell my artwork. Yeah right. Sorry people, but it is not that easy. First, you need the audience that likes your work. Second, and I can’t stress this enough, I will not create something that I do not feel passionate about. “PHEW”…there, I said it. I do not think that it is an artists’ “job or responsibility” to create what the masses expect them to do (unless of course it is a contract job). We artists become artists to express ourselves in what we like to create.
So, back to my main job outside my studio work. For all those people who ask “so, what do you do?”. Well, I usually answer “a research assistant “. Yeah, I know. Kind of boring, right? WRONG! I usually then get the question of “what kind of research do you do” or “do you get to use your talent as a researcher”. YES! This is the best part of describing what I do at my job to others. For me, this is were the descriptive fun begins.
Most of my day is using my artistic talent. Now, don’t get the wrong idea that this woman gets to draw all day. Nope, I do not illustrate everyday, but I do get to use my vast knowledge of photography (YEAH!), Photoshop and photo manipulation with many of the images I take myself. Yes, I do it all at my job (artistic wise). I photograph specimens, manipulate and prepare those photos, create maps, graphs, and tables for publications and yes, I do illustrate specimens, too.
I’m one of the lucky ones in the scientific/natural illustration world to be employed as a research assistant where I work. I do get to use my artistic talent in some form everyday. Most importantly, as an artist where I work, it is one of the best places to draw and paint because it is a “very artist friendly” environment. And the best part is, they pay me to use my artistic talent EVERYDAY! So, yes, it is just “A JOB”, but it is one of the best and most exciting jobs I have ever had were I get to use my artistic talent and knowledge in the creation of images, graphics, and illustrations for publications and websites. And sometimes, I don’t mind bringing my work home with me. 🙂