Having a Night Job
By day, she sits behind a desk, eyes glazed over, fingers tapping away. But by night...
It's Friday afternoon and I'm sitting behind my desk at work. I rolled in about 15 minutes ago and am planning my escape within the next 45. It's a sunny April 21st and I'm still feeling the residual effects from last night.
I'm confused on what to say when strangers ask me what I do for work. By day, I work a marketing job from 9 to 5, sitting behind a desk, drooling and writing emails. And that's the straightforward answer most people want to hear. But by night, I paint from the moment I get home to the minute I fall asleep. When I tell my family-friends that I'm a painter (I like to say painter instead of artist because it feels more real to me) I'm met with a questioning look. Artists don't make money, especially not young artists, so I assume most people wonder how I'm paying rent. This is when I follow up and bore them with the details of my day job. I wish I could be supporting myself through cooler and more interesting means, but the truth is that I spend the majority of my time organizing media assets and writing Instagram posts.
(Me after the printer ignores my document for the 10th time)
If you know me in person, you know that I have ADD. It's not something that effects me unless I'm dealing with the incredibly boring burdens of life- school, work, waiting in line at CVS, etc. And don't get me wrong- I actually enjoy my job. I like it a whole lot more than when I was working at Dunkin' Donuts. But when I'm between assignments and starting to zone out, the intense urge to pull out my sketchbook creeps up on me. Inspiration relentlessly nags at my mind until I have to sneak out of the office to doodle in secrecy. Having a night job and being a morning person is the worst. I know so many artists that feel peak motivation at night, but I have the best ideas mid-morning, usually in front on a computer screen. I love the energy that the sun gives me, and the way my work looks under natural light. There's not much I hate more than wasting a beautiful day in a cubicle, but how else am I going to afford my overpriced Liquitex acrylic and Caran d'Ache crayons?
So, I'm sure you can see my dilemma. How do I make money? From marketing and communications. What's my career? Being an artist. What do I tell people my job is? Painting. And that's my choice. I did not spend my entire adolescence hoping and praying that one day I would be blessed by a desk and a swivel chair (although... I do like having my own workspace). I'm still working on making a living from my practice, but I'm only 26 and it's just not realistic to be paying rent selling paintings alone. In reality, I make almost nothing from my artwork. I'm honestly losing money from it. But right now, I'm not doing this to make money. I just like painting and it makes me feel good. Creating art allows me a sense of accomplishment from an otherwise mundane life. Every time I finish a piece, it's like finishing a puzzle that I spent a little too long on. My friends ask me why I haven't tried to monetize my practice, but I just can't. Making prints, dealing with customers, creating an e-commerce store, shipping and handling... no. Not for me. I just don't have the patience for it yet. For now, I'll continue to carry on with my 9-5, followed by my 5-9. It's a system that works for me, and it's fun to daydream about new projects while ignoring my Zoom meetings. Plus, when else would I be able to write a blog?
(My and my coworker doodling during our Town Hall meeting)
Currently watching: South Park
Currently listening to: Everything by Chase Icon
Currently obsessed with: Not talking to anyone