Admitting that you are an artist is the first step to recovery

I very rarely, if ever, tell people that I am a visual artist. When asked, I usually offer a vague description of what I do for a living. It’s weird too, because I usually regret not mentioning that I am an artist right after making an acquaintance. If nothing else, it’s the loss of a networking opportunity because you never know what that person’s interests might be and it might lead to somewhere interesting.

For a while, I would say ‘I do a few things’ whenever people asked what I did for a living. And it is true, art is not what I do for a living. It’s almost the opposite of that ­– definitely more money out than in, but that’s my choice. It’s what I do for fun. Maybe that’s the crux of it – it only matters if you make money at it, and preferably lots.

‘What do I do for a living’, you ask. ‘I do a few things’, I say.

Perhaps it’s because I haven’t rehearsed what to say or how to say it. I also might be avoiding the inevitable questions about what kind of art I do and having to explain that. I think the best explanation I’ve ever come up with is ‘nothing that will match your couch’.

I may even think that my making art is evidence of a character flaw. I do believe that, for me, making art is a compulsive behaviour. I admit to feeling a little guilty because there are so many other things that I should be doing. You know – adulting things. I have to feel caught-up with the rest of my life commitments before I can give myself permission. It’s messed up but, guilt or no guilt, it keeps happening. – L/C


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