There is an alarmingly young Australian poet named Erin Hanson whose poem 'What If I fall?" I have bastardised for the purposes of this blog title.
I have had a peculiar path to working on art full time.
First I must preface this by saying that I am in the incredibly fortunate position of not actually financially needing to earn money. Thanks to the unquestioning, immediate & total support and extremely hard work of my husband, I do not have the pressure of needing to earn my keep financially. I have the luxury of choosing what to do with my time. He was happy to provide me with that freedom years before I was ever comfortable in accepting it.
I feel like the journey of getting to the point I'm at now - spending the majority of my time painting and creating - has been an unnecessary, time-wasting inner battle.
I am not sure I sign up to the concept of Happiness, but creating illustration and art work is the only thing that truly satisfies me. It is challenging, thrilling, frustrating. It drives me and it feels like my purpose in life.
For so long I have felt that that wasn't permissible. That there ought to be some other reason to allow me to spend my life making art. Maybe I ought to be making work I could sell. Maybe I ought to be making art that serves others. Maybe I ought to be making work that was terribly clever. In fact, I should probably only create as a hobby, outside of working hours. I ought to justify and compensate for my need. I must earn my keep. I owe a debt to the world simply by existing in it, I ought to be a functioning contributing member of society.
But now I am coming to think that the reason I must paint is that the alternative is too awful a thought. How can I not? What a terrible waste. If I met another person with a burgeoning talent and the opportunity to pursue that talent, I would never understand why they felt they ought not to. The world will cope just fine without me working in an office, earning a 9-5 wage, paying taxes. I am not a desperately needed cog. My martyrdom will satisfy no-one. But painting, whether the work is good or terrible or pointless or funny or interesting or ugly or beautiful or sad or shit, WILL satisfy me.
So I will allow myself to spend my life making. I will allow myself to take it seriously. I will pursue and learn and create and dedicate time and energy and money. I will call myself an artist, and mean it. I will make work simply because I want to. I will not worry about who likes it, or what it's for. I don't care anymore. I am going to make, because I need to make.