Thursday, November 10, 2011
I really loved this beach. It was really neat to see the ice sparkling like diamonds against the black sand, the waves hitting the icebergs just off the shore. It's an interesting place, Iceland is. This is not something you might expect to see. Certainly, this is nothing I ever expected to see in my lifetime yet, there I was, standing at the beach and getting to experience it firsthand. I was really hoping to get one shot of it too-just one shot so that I could share it with you. This was not intended to be any kind of a "high art" image, I honestly was hoping to get more of a snapshot of this, for the blog, so that I could show you and my family and my friends (well, some of you are my friends in "real life" too, so please bear with me on this one) what Iceland looks like. This is, well, this is that shot.
Which brings me to today's topic.
When you practice photography or art as a hobby, it's great. You get to enjoy it, maybe you even start to get some shots you really like. A few paintings come out, you know, not so "ugly" or what have you. The world is a fun place. Life is good. And then something happens.
You get good. You get better. People start making demands upon your time. Everybody wants a piece of you. You start to get pulled like a rag doll in many directions. "Give me this!" They scream at you. "I want more of that!" They cry at you. And so you try to keep up and make due. You start painting more or shooting a lot, just to try to keep up. At times, it feels like you cannot keep your head above water, like you are that iceberg there, just off the shoreline, being pelted by the waves and constantly knocked around helplessly.
Then something else happens. It happened to us this weekend, as we were preparing for EAST. It rained. Now, this might seem like a simple exercise in weather statistics-it rains a certain number of days a year, right? And we have a drought so rain is a good thing, right? Right? Wrong!
Most photographers remember their first "real" shoot in the rain. Painters often can't paint in the rain either. Paint doesn't dry and it turns into this pudding like substance...well, let's just say they have a hard time painting in the rain too. It's not "fun" like it was back when painting was a hobby, that's for sure. That wonderful vision we all have of the French man with the beret standing on the corner next to the easel tossing a scarf over his shoulder while dabbing a bit of French blue on a pristine sky? Yeah, that so doesn't happen everyday of the week, ok? Let me be the first to burst your bubble about that one (if it isn't burst already.) If you want to be creative, you sometimes have to work in rain, snow, sleet, hail, and all kinds of stuff that makes me otherwise just want to stay in bed. It's downright hard to work in the rain, really it is. Trust me if you have not done it before it's just, well let's just say it's hard on the soul even though it can make for some really great artwork.
At some point, the hobby turns into an obsession and then, horribly, turns into a job.
This might sound like what you want. Everybody wants to make money from their artwork, don't they? It's better than working at a desk, isn't it? Would you rather be a bank teller or a taxi cab driver? No, no, not me, I'm an artist!
Sometimes. Sometimes yes, sometimes no. It's different from working at a desk, but it's working too. That hobby can turn pretty ugly on you when it's a full time chore. It's hard to churn out 22 properly sized, exquisitely painted, properly wired, labeled, and tagged paintings, let me tell you. It's a lot of work anyway. And, guess what? You get to do this all the while your friends think you are off "having fun." Oh joy! You get to lock yourself up in your studio and do all of this, paint away your lifetime, get buried under mountains of paperwork, (invoices anyone?) do lots of tedious chores and sometimes you wonder, for what? Why am I doing this? (Let me be the first to tell you, if nobody else has already, that sometimes I feel like I would rather walk into that ocean than cut another matte board or wire up another screw hook. Sorry to tell you this but, all of that crap? Yeah, that's part of art and photography too. Here, have an invoice! They're good for you, like broccoli only not as chewy.)
So, while the party atmosphere at EAST has already stared, I put out this humble suggestion. Let's not forget our friends who are busy still working. Putting those last few coats of paint on their masterpieces. Wiring up their photos or labeling their artwork. Part of EAST is having a "pitch in" kind of attitude and I, for one, am willing to help do whatever it takes. Yes, it's a lot of work, at times it can seem brutal, but it's also very rewarding. So few times do we get to "showoff" our work to so many people and have so much fun doing it. It's a challenge at times and, yes, we are in the final stretch, but it's also fun too. Much like that hobby that turned into an obsession and then later a job, getting to put on a show like this is as much a labor of love as it is anything else.
I'm glad I got to share with you my beach baby 'bergs. I hope you like them. I'm glad I get to paint, draw, take pictures, and do tons of stuff that many others don't get to do. I'm sure there are artists who want to participate in something like EAST but don't know how or can't quite get up the nerve to do it just yet or maybe there are some out there who just feel so overwhelmed and just can't quite finish it all before the "big show" starts. It's part of my job too to lend them a hand, to not forget about them as well. We should all strive, as artists, to replace ourselves at one point or another. (If we don't do that, the arts won't grow.)
That little thing I started doing way back, sometime in like 1992? That little "hobby" of mine, taking pictures, framing them and putting them up on walls? Yeah, it's so changed over the years. I do a lot more now, including shoot in the rain. I mess with screw hooks. I photocopy model releases. I've got my invoices properly filed and right here, looking at me. I do it all. And, I'm glad when I get to party or relax or just enjoy life a little bit because the pace, the pace of the world I travel in nowadays, can be so much so fast it sometimes makes my head spin. So, while I'm not entirely unlike that iceberg you see here, stuck like a sitting duck getting pelted by the surf, I'm keeping myself busy and trying to have fun too. And I hope, I honestly hope, you get to do the same, that you get to share in this delight, even if it's only in some small way.
Isn't that what life's really all about anyway?
Until next time...