FREEDOM from free-market slavery?
In the course of our move, our transition to beautiful off-grid life in the high desert, I found myself confused about how to open my print shop back up. How else would I make any money? I'd been relying on my print sales almost exclusively for the past several years to make any sort of income. I wasted money on failed musicians, who I was convinced were driven, devoted people that wanted me onboard in their band, I was convinced my investment in these "friends" was a great way to both help them succeed and take me on a new adventure. What a mistake. I intended to make tons of new artwork in balance with band life, but what ended up happening was wasting time waiting around for people, wasting money on tours that turned out to be a glorified "vacation" for someone who didn't feel like working, a downward spiral on my part into partying too hard, leaving me with little energy to create (but a lot of good material), and a reliance on my online shop and selling prints locally to try and make money, reliance on generally older artworks to show, and zero satisfaction with any of it. I made a lot of stupid decisions! But, my print shop WAS making a good amount of money, so I began to view that as my easy income, as well as a way to please my fans.
Last night I was lamenting my confusion with how to properly launch my shop again- where would I get my art printed? I'm so far out of town that I can't exactly print and ship on demand like I used to, do I set a schedule? How can I go back to devoting all this time towards tiny print sales when I'd really rather just make big art again? How will I make any money? My husband reminded me that a few years ago, when I was about to launch my print shop, a man who had been following my budding career stopped me in the Bart station and told me "Don't sell prints." He was effectively verbally taking me by the shoulders and shaking me. "Don't sell prints!" He told me my whole body of work would be cheapened by it. I knew what he meant but I thought, "how catastrophic could this possibly be?" Well, as it turns out, it was catastrophic to my own image of myself, to my false feeling of being out there in the world as an artist, I don't know how anyone else felt about it but it caused me to lean on the print sales too heavily to the point that I wasn't as devoted to making and selling original art. D'OH! And with the bipolar mind, the switching of tasks and the breaking up of creative flow in order to print, package, and ship my prints was taking both time and mental focus away from what I really wanted to do- which was create big art.
During that time I also lost my studio (due to the master lease holder "wanting it back"), and through a series of other bad luck snafus I ended up working back in my extra room at home, without much ability to make the big glossy collages I had been making in that 1890 Bryant street heyday. Prints was an easy solution for that, too.
Last night I broke down, I didn't want to keep doing this shop but I thought it was the only way to make money anymore. My husband pointed out I made more money and was much happier when I was just focusing on making original art, and said, "Just don't have a print shop!" For some reason I simply had not considered this. If I didn't want to sell prints, I didn't have to! It was as simple as that. He said even HE longed for the earlier times when I was just producing a ton of amazing large scale original pieces. And that I shouldn't be caught up by what "consumers" want. What my fans want. I should just do whaveter the hell I please.
So... that's that! No more prints. It makes me grin ear to ear to know completely now, that all I really have to do is just become a hermit in my studio and steal myself away from the world and create what is coming next. So if you have print of mine, congratulations for getting in on the game early! Maybe those will be worth something more one day ;) And to those who were devoted collectors of my prints, you are very much loved and appreciated, you helped me stay afloat, you gave me peace of mind.
I may pivot to Patreon for a small subscription service, perhaps sending out postcards every once in a while, goodies, and gifts to fans- but mostly as a way to engage with my fans, give you sneak peeks into what I'm working on, things like that. I really appreciate my fans so if I do this, it will be inexpensive.
THAT BEING SAID- the next things I intend to create are going to be sculptural. Wall sculpture, mostly. I'm going to be using a lot more animal imagery and anthropomorphic creatures, continuing with the archetypes of goddesses, saints, and religious symbolism from christianity mixed with zen, hinduism, the new age... and coming from a place deeply inspired by the natural world and the peaceful place I now call home. If you can imagine some of my best 2d collages and paintings as wall sculptures, if you can imagine a world of beaded, upholstered, painted characters and creatures dripping in crystals and glitter and color coming at you, off the wall, in large scale universes, you're on the right track. ;)
What I really needed all this time was an inner balance, and out here I have found it, and I know it's going to translate INCREDIBLY into my next body of work.
My studio is almost almost ready to be built. The suspense is killing me and I can't wait to get in there to make amazing things soon....
Thank you to everyone who was with me so far on this journey- the best of Enlightenment Barbie is yet to come...!