Artists, Would You Hire Yourself?


Ruston Eagle Owl

So, I’m coming to the close of my first year as a full-time artist.  That’s right – I’ve been my own boss all year – woohoo!  I excitedly imagined this year as a never-ending amount of time I would have to do anything I’ve ever wanted to do in the past but couldn’t because of daytime time constraints.  More than one person conspiratorially whispered to me that “it seems like you’ll have so much time when your kids are all in school, but you really don’t have that much more time.”

I’m embarrassed to admit that I thought the people saying that just weren’t making good use of their time (!!)  Even those 2 days a week when my kids previously went to preschool ended up being a solid chunk of productivity if I planned ahead.  Wouldn’t working as a full-time artist translate into months and months of unbridled creative productivity with my newly-found cornucopia of time?!

Probably the overwhelming majority of artists have, at some point in their career, worked a regular job.  Remember that job where you could do all sorts of non-work related stuff while you’re on the clock?  Yeah, me neither.  ;)  Same thing with this job of being a full-time artist!  My work day is still just that – a work day.  But now I’m doing exactly the creative work I’ve dreamed of doing for a long time.

My previous artist work habits leaned more towards a hobbyist’s approach towards my art –  heaving a huge sigh of relief when I finished a painting or art-related project.  I would overindulgently give myself at least a week to recover before I started on a new project – ha!  I’ve had to adjust my transition time in between projects dramatically now that I’m working as a full-time artist.

Just like a “regular job” has deadlines that have to be met, so does a full-time artist.  If I didn’t meet my art deadlines before the kids came home from school, I worked overtime, beginning when they got home from school.  What if my artwork still wasn’t done after their dinner, baths, and putting them to bed?  Yep, that meant still more working on art. Somehow this realization surprised me, but once I finally got it, my art production mushroomed.

This Golden Year dedicated to working as a full-time artist has been a priceless treasure.  I’ve learned so much about time-management, creating and meeting goals, making art, and balancing being my own boss with what I wanted to get done.

Now that I’ve figured out what I do and don’t have time for during the day, I would TOTALLY hire myself.  Because, in the end, I figured out that as a working artist, you ARE hiring yourself.

Artists, looking realistically at how you’re spending your day, would YOU hire yourself?  What changes would you make?  Are you approaching your art as a hobbyist or as a working artist?  I would love to hear your answers in the comments – thanks!  :)

6 Responses to “Artists, Would You Hire Yourself?”

  1. Marianne says:

    I feel like I have two full-time jobs… A paid day-job, and then my after work artist job. I fit other stuff in between and don’t have much of an outside life. My child is older and pretty much self-sufficient, so I can do that. But if you don’t treat it like a job and be productive, it’ll be almost impossible to get anywhere (I know, I’ve been trying for years). I read somewhere that as a working artist you should be producing 52 pieces/year. I’m not there yet, but I’m on my way.

    Good for you for being able to do this while your children (and you) are still young. Your work is lovely.

    • admin says:

      Thanks Marianne! I remember feeling like I had two full-time jobs too when I was working full-time and then making art in the evening after I got home. Keep creating! 52 pieces a year is a lot – I would call it a success with even a quarter of that… ;) Thanks for commenting!

  2. Tammy says:

    Dear Julia,

    Your soul is even more beautiful than your work. I guess because your soul came first! Lovely work! Structure is an art form as well, so I think you are creating that more than you know as you cut & paint.

    Tammy Parker

    • admin says:

      Thanks so much, Tammy! I appreciate your sweet comments here. I took a look around your website, too. Poetry Bath is a wonderful idea – glad to meet someone else who understands how invaluable a hot bath at the end of a long day can be. Take care!

  3. Julia hi!Well done for being on your own for a year, this is great!
    The comments you wrote in your “Artists, would you hire yourself?” are the exact reasons why we created this new website “Women artists of the world”
    We wanted to give a platform to female artists while creating their profile with pictures and videos so they can be reached from everywhere around the globe.
    As an artist,in order for admirers to find you, even if you have social medias or a website, they have to know your name to find out what you are doing online…With our site, they can search the world by country, city, form of art and land on your profile, even if they are from Tokyo or Tanzania!
    Give it a try and see if it can be of some use for you:
    Thanks ! Gilles

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