~Art is my livelihood~
William Styron was a favorite writer of mine for a long while. An American with a fine pen and deep feeling put in his prose. As I read his fictional pieces, it was his work that allowed me to see that despite the effort, many seek to hold onto their anonymity, creative writers hardly avoid putting a lot of themselves, their beliefs, life’s motivations and dreams, into the work.
He would create a character, give them a name, and as they spoke, if you read-or listen carefully, you’d see the authors face and glean their dark secrets...William Styron, though a talented writer, suffered from depression towards the end of his career and most of his stories hint to him being that kind of person. He should have had friends that would have talked him out of it. He, as I, hungered for his works to be revered and make him a house hold name, short of this achievement he said as much in “Sophie’s Choice,” that their was not much for a writer to hope for after the grip of the Great Depression. I am sure most of his family muscled through those dark days, but Styron was always haunted by the memory of poverty and did not take kindly to having to ever repeat such a squalid life style. As his fictional characters ended their lives, through some depressive state of mind, so did he.
I did not come this realization until much later after having learned a little about him.
I survived our countries modern Great Depression, but did not have the books of the past to guide me through. I did not equate my present darkness of 2008, that constantly hides as a shade in the corner of the room, a reminder of what happens when money is of no consequence; with that of the dark days of the 1920’s.
I was of the generation of the Simpsons, Ghibli Studios, and President Clinton’s wonderful economic boom. The internet was supposed to be the godsend of the world and make conventional forms of processing wealth as irrelevant as Medieval history lessons in high-school. With the introduction to e-commerce, who needs to clock into a workspace or office, when they can barter and trade goods from home? I am sure horror movies have been made from this theme already, so stop me if you’ve heard this one before. I chose art as my livelihood because it is the one thing I dream about every night.
An empty canvas is my mind and the ink begins to bleed on the panel and an image forms. I hold it in my mind for a few hours and when I wake, I can’t sit still, until I’ve recreated what I dreamed.
That is why I created the Dream Weaver. He is a model of what and who I am, to illustrate and reenact the steps of my dreams. To, as William Styron, and any other creative writer, express whatever is relevant to me at the moment, painting the images that come to mind and move the story along, while retaining my own anonymity. Through this art form I can uphold my livelihood and detract any negative press to my fictional characters. This of course has been the safety of past art producers and true to my devotion to the guild, I hold to this tradition.
In the production of a good or commodity, there is an expectation in the eventuality of selling it. This process has become so automatic for the success of a society that is expected and mechanical. The real art, is seen when one can take what is universally understood and make it attractive to the consumer. Prime example. I was visiting with a sex-worker, who’s bottomline and sense of fun is only accessed when I give money. She would not even show her face past the veil unless I gave her a dollar. There was no talk about the weather. She did not want to know anything about me and did not want me to know anything about her. She was stalwart in the exchanging of funds before proceeding. Which to her credit is perfectly fine, if she could find a guy that could keep it up, after being treated so poorly. It is her want. Beyond the securing of money and aiding in her livelihood I was nothing more than an obstacle to overcome by selling the most product to those willing to buy in. If I did not, others would. This same directness of customer service can be applied to things outside of sex-work but I like the idea of what we produce when we take what can be a pleasurable experience and sour it with the mechanics of placing a dollar amount on a human experience.
Writing for William Styron was no longer a pleasure when he was not paid enough so he stunted himself. Sex was no longer enjoyable for the prostitute if she was not given enough money to buy a car and she no longer communicated with her clients unless, given a reason to smile. The product they sold is their livelihood and because they breathe life into their work and infuse a piece of themselves into every ounce of what they do, they feel they deserve payment for it. Which they do, mind you. This is why we buy books, buy sex, or buy art, because of the human communication infused into it and the desire to escape whatever doldrums happen to be at present plaguing our minds.
The trading of money for a good or service is to bring pleasure and unless I work day and night on my craft, I will lose out on my livelihood. If I was to react as the prostitute and not cater to the cares of my clients or fans, I’d damage my livelihood and the guild.
At least Styron is no longer here to face the consequences of his negative attitude toward people. As an artist I face the attitudes of people and relish in the interaction. For every moment can be turned into a work of art. Makes a good story and can guide my pen to reveal a little more about myself.
“Why is art a keen source of income for me?”
I went to University to become a lawyer.
:Making any entry level position over my pay grade and a liability for an employer to hire me. Not desiring to get into a squabble with Human Resources for having hired someone and paying them beneath their worth, employers unless convinced otherwise, won’t hire. I’ve applied to enough jobs to know that line of reasoning by heart. Never mind I never graduated. My record shows some level of higher education and in order to avoid the probability of a lawsuit, they kindly say, “ We don’t have a place for you.”
Another neat trick that recently has put a hamper on my ability to secure funds in our technological world. Is this insistence of Pay-Pal, or any other form of direct banking service, not to recognize my bank account. A real headache. It is rather unexplainable but the bank does not understand it and neither does Pay-pal. But even if my art sold and money flooded my pay-pal account, my bank would not honor the promissory note of sale and I’d have to for fete the money. I’ve been stalling further advertisement of my work, until I can secure a proper pay-pal account. I can send money though. Isn’t that odd? One more mystery to add to my laundry list of mysteries. The world will move further and further away from cash and I will be on the outside looking in, traveling miles out of my way to send a money order or check to a business for proof of sale. Because I am unaware of what hinders my ability to secure funds and transfer it to my bank, I have yet to devise a subsidiary company that can aid others in similar straits against pay-pal. Because I am the only one that cares about the clash between digital currency and traditional currency, I can not develop a staff that can aid me in this raising of awareness and bolstering of my livelihood.
I don’t expect anyone to care about earning a bill of sale for what I produce, as much as I do. The days of publishers and sponsors for creative material is over with. I was talking to a friend a few days ago about this very thing. We compared what attracts people to today’s music, entertainment in general, they all follow the same formula. Musicians have managers and booking agents. Artists have gallery owners. Writers have publishers. Anyway, my friends son is a singer who for years has wanted a record deal and for years has been denied. Short of sponsoring himself, he will forever be just dreaming of the day he can hold an album in his hand of his songs the world will sing along with him. Which others of lesser talent are honored and given a contract for hours of material, you’ll never remember. He works a regular 9-5 but in his spare time plays with his hobby. It is not his livelihood because the money he’d put into it does not equal in the value he’d receive for it.
No one gets into this business to break even. They get into it to make millions.
They get into it because it is their livelihood.