I’m Tired of Being an Artist*

I’m tired of being an artist right now. There are days like today–when thinking about my art transmits a flurry of moths up from my stomach into my neck in sets like waves. My brush strokes are low-brow; the piles of paintings all around the house and the studio are like piles of dusty yellow newspapers stealing space from a small apartment.

I can’t stand this weird habit of mine to play with pricey paint on overpriced canvases or pieces of plywood. Today, I especially hate the abstract ones. They offer nothing other than one of my moods, thoughts or bits of dreams. That’s all they are, blobs and strokes that illustrate whatever I’m feeling (or thinking or dreaming about or worried about or in love with) throughout the span of the painting’s construction.

Then there’s the piles of poems loitering around the desk at the studio, staring up at the historic ceiling, bored and wondering when they will become timeless. Who cares about these poems anyway? Again, they’re nothing other than thoughts thrust about as words, landing in some sort of design from my mind.

I wonder, why did I make all of these?… I’ve only sold two paintings… and the poems are still waiting to become a book (they’re getting published in pairs by journals or anthologies like little odd couples). Last week, I heard back from the editors of an anthology soon to be published. Two of the three poems I submitted are going to be published in the collection. It’s a publication I was hoping to get, and I got it! But I don’t feel as relieved as I used to when something got published…I feel like it’s not enough; I should be sending out my manuscript. I should be more on the cutting-edge. I should be making money off these useless paintings.

Why I'm Tired of Being an Artist

I’m tired of thinking about it, of wearing this big noticeable techni-colored jacket that automatically announces to everyone I meet, “Hello. I’m an artist. I will be different.” When people find out I paint and write poetry, their eyes grow a little wider and they quickly inhale as if saying, “Wow. You’re different.” Yes. I’m one of those, I think, I spend a significant amount of time making things. And naturally, I’ll feel different; I’ll become annoyingly aware of all the jokes I’m making and the tired smile on my face.

One man who visited my studio at the Estate said, “I can’t believe people like you exist.” When viewers come to check out the studio, they first read my posted bio, and then look through a few windows before knocking on the door–I morph into a fish in a tank, something curious and colorful moving around in a space.

There’s days when I wake up feeling like an artist, excited that I get to play all day, ready for the ideas to spill out like confetti, and then there’s the other days, when the thought of being an artist is a really sore tooth that makes your eyes water when you bite down. What should I pour out of my mind today? I should stop thinking like an artist. Why should I spend the hours meandering and wallowing around my mind? What would a normal person be thinking about?

*This was originally published on Pink Curlers & Post Scripts


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