Life as an Artist: update 6

“Open Doors,” 6 x 6 inches, pen and ink, available in my shop

It’s been a while since my last “Life as An Artist” post—the series in which I have been chronicling what it’s like to be an artist as my career. If you’ve been following this blog for a while, you will remember my previous posts in this series that started back in October.

I think it has been a while since my last post because I’ve been trying to come to terms with a new realization. Plain and simple: I’m just not making enough money through art to support myself right now.

I embarked on this full-time art journey knowing that I had only a limited amount of time (and money) to see if I could make headway towards a full-time income from art. I have made some great progress—actually, my sales have been the best ever this month in my online shop, I’ve been working on new projects galore, the readership of this blog has been soaring, and I have learned so much since October (when I started doing art full-time)—about myself and my business. I rejoice in all of these wonderful developments. It is an amazing thing to create a business in this way—almost by accident at first (by starting this blog), and then to see it grow into an actual business with customers and fans and readers.

The fact that I am not quite there yet financially, is just a fact. Sometimes it can be a hard fact to swallow, but I made a promise to myself and my husband that I would not lose sight of reality, and I would get another job, when and if it was needed. That time has come, and thanks to the helpful thoughts of two very insightful people (Jenny Shih and Michael Neill), I’m choosing to not see this as a failure, but to see any new job I get as a way of funding my life and my art business.

This choice is challenging for me, as I’ve often made the job into the enemy, but I would like to choose differently this time around. Last week on his radio show, Michael Neill said something that really resonated with me—he said (I’m paraphrasing) to a caller similar to me, “What if this new job was just a different way of creating a successful business you love? What if in five years you had a successful, wonderful business, but had to work for a couple years in order to get there? Would you be OK with that?” The answer is YES!

What I’m trying to say is that maybe when things don’t go exactly how you had hoped, there are multiple ways you can see it—you can choose to see it as a setback and feel like you’ve been dealt an unfair hand, or you can choose to see it as reality and embrace it. I am choosing to do the second one. I keep wanting to say that I’m “trying to choose” to see it this way, but I would like to just choose.

All along, I’ve wanted this blog to be a place for people to come and get inspiration. At times, I’ve hoped to show you also that you can live your dreams. Right now, I realize that the best thing I can do is give you a truthful answer to the question: how does an artist live in this world and find a way to both make art and support her/himself? I still believe anything is possible, but I think I’m learning to be more flexible in how it happens. Perhaps this is the universe’s way of teaching me acceptance and how to rejoice in each day, which is what I believe is the most important thing I can learn in this life.

I have my first job interview tomorrow, and we’ll see how it turns out. When I do get a part-time job, I do not expect anything to change about this blog, except perhaps the number of posts per week. I am excited to continue to share my creative life with you, and show you a truthful, honest version of one story of an artist in this world, living and making art right now.

As always, thanks so much for being a part of Blue Bicicletta, and for tuning in to read about my latest exploits and ideas, and share glimpses into your own lives.


8 Responses to “Life as an Artist: update 6”

  1. 1 Olivia January 21, 2010 at 7:06 pm

    Great post! I think that it’s hard sometimes because we want our dreams to happen just like we think they will, fast, easy, and picture perfect… usually they don’t. But, I think it always works out, better than we expected.

    Having another job to make some money doesn’t make you any less of an artist!!!

    Thanks for sharing this.

  2. 2 Mike McLaren January 21, 2010 at 11:49 pm

    It is unfortunate that the world is made of money. It is fortunate that many of us don’t let that stop us from our aspirations. When my newspaper went bankrupt in 1996, I ended up working as a technical writer for a corporate bank… the kind of establishment about which I sing protest songs. I played whatever gig I could squeeze into my schedule, because always I am a musician (technical writing is just something I do if I have to). Five years later, I left the bank, dropped my writing and was able to get back to being a full-time musician. As you know from my blog, I had to go back into retail this past August. This month, I was back to being a full-time musician again… and my writing is coming back. Who knows, in another year, the economy being so crippled, I might have to move pipe in a field for some farmer. But always I am a musician.

    Good luck with your job interview!

  3. 3 bluebicicletta January 22, 2010 at 8:58 am

    Thanks so much for your comments Olivia and Mike. They really lifted me up this morning. I hear of a lot of creative people that do what they have to do to make money, but always keep on with their art. This makes a very interesting life—perhaps not exactly what they expected, but hey—working outside of art can give you even more material for the art. Looking at the bright side!

  4. 4 Clara January 23, 2010 at 6:41 am

    Thank you so much for this honest post, and for your commitment to sharing the truth of an artists’ life with your readers. I, too, somewhat late to the game, am emphasizing acceptance and embracing what IS, rather than what I would like it to be. Which does not mean, as you suggest, that I let this stop me from moving toward my goals.

    I’m understanding that fighting reality simply keeps me in an unhappy state, rather than in a state of gratitude for everything in my life that is positive. I’m not saying that I’m completely there yet, far from it, but this awareness is one I’ve recently come to (duh!), and I’m appreciating its wisdom.

    The old adage of “it’s a journey, not a destination” is applicable here. It’s not always easy (I’m saying that to myself as much as to you), but our life experiences make us the artists that we are, whatever those experiences may be. Good luck with your job search.

  5. 5 Kerri January 23, 2010 at 11:41 pm

    Ah yes the day job. Sadly the day job and I know each other well, and just like you I feel that the day job is the enemy most of the time. On the bright side, you will only be working part time at this other job so it will not consume all of your time. I too am looking for another job and I feel your pain! Hang in there, having another job doesn’t take away the beautiful artist inside you x x

  1. 1 A Nestled Three, in Triangles « blue bicicletta Trackback on February 22, 2010 at 6:48 pm
  2. 2 Farewell for Now and One of the Most Important Lessons I’ve learned in the Past Couple of Years « blue bicicletta Trackback on May 26, 2011 at 10:11 am
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Hello there! My name is Nicole K. Docimo, and I am an artist and writer from the U.S.A. but currently residing in Zurich, Switzerand. Thank you for visiting my blog!

Some Thoughts

"Be thirsty for the ultimate water,
and then be ready for what will
come pouring from the spring."

{from "Joy at Sudden Disappointment"
translated by C. Barks.}

~This Work ~

Unless otherwise noted, all images and writings on this blog were created by me, Nicole K. Docimo aka Blue Bicicletta. If you would like to share anything you see here for inspirational purposes online, I just ask that you kindly let folks know where you found it. If you are wanting to share/reproduce any of my work in any other way, or have any questions about how you will be sharing the work in relation to copyright, please contact me directly at nkdocimo {at} gmail {dot} com. Thanks!

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