Friday, June 24, 2011

Why Do It?

You know... after the IMC, I started thinking a lot about my artwork, the illustration field, selling of my products, studying, etc. Then, I start thinking about all of the things in my life: my wife and doggers, my friends, my work, my activities and hobbies. I realized that, when I'm starting something, I'm a pretty focused individual. I work really really hard to be good at it.

When I started rock-climbing, I trained, read books, took lessons such that I could start climbing 5.10b's. When I started programming, I read everything that there was about programming, programmed in my spare time, took workshops, and eventually became a really good programmer. Same with hiking. It wasn't enough to just hike here and there, my friend and I had to hike at different parts of the world (Kilimanjaro, Machu Pichu, Iceland, etc). In every case, to make sure that I did well, I trained. It's not always fun. Most of the time, it's a lot of hard work. However, there's something in me that requires me to excel at it. Not to be the best, but to be pretty good.

This comes with a price. It means that I focus on it to the exclusion of other things. When I was training for Kilimanjaro, I hiked a lot with my friends, but, on my own time, I worked out, I only read hiking/training books, I only ate properly, etc.

Same is true with my artwork. For the last 3 years, I've only read art books, I spent a lot of time drawing and painting, taking lessons, working on the business model to sell my work, etc. My artwork sells at art/craft fairs. Generally enough to pay my booth fees, supply costs, etc. So, the "hobby" is paying for itself. Plus, I usually have money left over to buy my wife jewelry and gifts and the occasional toy for myself (i.e. an iPad and a laptop).

However, for the last 6 months, I've not been having fun. Why? I don't need the money to eat. I don't need the money for retirement. I have a very good job, that I love, with great co-workers and an extremely good salary. I don't need to have people tell me how great I am to feed my ego. I also don't have that obsessive drive that people have for certain activities (You HAVE to draw every day or every other day or you feel bad, etc.... I enjoy drawing/painting, but it's not a requirement for me to be happy).

So, why do I do it? Because drawing and painting make me happy. Would I still be happy even if I wasn't selling my work? Absolutely. It's the way that I am. I'm a nice, goofy, happy guy. This is due to my nature and who I am. Not what I do. Time to remember that. Time to remember why my friends hang out with me. Time to reconnect with the life that I use to have.

I remember in Greg Manchess' talk at IMC, he mentioned that artwork is not fun. He meant that, I'm assuming, that, if you are working for someone, it's a job. It's not always fun. It's a lot of hard work. Since I don't have this as a job, I CAN have it always to be fun. For me, when I get to periods that it's not fun, it's time to stop. Maybe resume it later. Maybe not. For me, life is about having fun and enhancing the life of my friends/family around me.

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