A lot can happen in a month, huh?
Just last month I had laid out plans to sell a few commissions, save some money, and get out of all debt in a few short months. Obviously, shit happens. Now everybody in Kansas City is locked away at home, like most of the rest of the civilized world, fighting a horrible disease. While this doesn’t look like things will return to anything near normal for a long time, life goes on.
After stocking up on cleaning supplies and food, I had a couple of last minute painting stretcher orders before the citywide shutdown. I quickly banged them out. Then I quickly spent the cash from the proceedings to buy a bag of paint and some extra wood to hold me over for a few months of serious alone time in the studio.
The first week I started figuring out a gameplan for a few month without income. My students dropped from 21 in 18 classes to a paltry three Skype classes. I have a commission in progress, which could get me through another month. A federal check could get me through another. After that, I’d rather not think about things too much. Missouri has been a hotbed for shit republican ideals for a while, so they’ve been less inclined to help small businesses or self employed folks and have been dragging their feet implementing federal bailout mandates.
So, I hope that last paragraphs sets every republican and libertarian heart at ease if one of you accidentally found your way to this site. Now you can go back to worrying about your money in Wall Street. Everybody else who is rooted in reality (this doesn’t include you Democrats, but thanks so much for trying), also can read between the lines and see that I’m meeting the barest of minimums of my obligations to electric, gas, phone, internet and food bills. The reality is that even when this is all done, I’m going to be well over my head in crippling debt. Unfortunately, I can’t lay off 15,000 employees or buyback stock to line my coffers. I can’t even access the federal money that fell out of the bailout bill.
I spent my first week organizing and cleaning up my studio and house. After blowing off the world for a week, I crossed off the next nine months of plans on my schedule. Then I started getting some work done on the upcoming commission. It’s been fun and mindless work so far. I’ve also enjoyed my time working on my copy of a Jack Levine painting as well.
Overall, I’m being honest that nothing seems to have changed very much in my day to day life. I’ve been living without a job and on my own schedule since May of 2002. Making rent and paying bills for far too many of the months between then and now has often been my biggest headache. Miracles happen, and I guess at least now I can say that I still have my health. Let’s hope that stays that way.
I don’t have any plans to change my life or do something drastic during this quarantine. I want to stay alive, eat and be as healthy as I can, and get some work done. I’ve re-started a long stalled writing project. Revisiting it shows why it’s been on hold for so long. It’ll take a while, but I think it will still bear some fruit.
After this commission, I want to start in on some new paintings. Of course, the hardest thing to do is to concentrate long enough to get to producing anything. I’m hoping once things settle down a bit, the flow will return a bit and I’ll be cranking out weird shit like old times.
With the world feeling like it’s on pause, this should be a great time for artists, as long as they can pay their bills. With no pressure of a running clock, or any pressure to please an audience, it’s a good time to dance in the weird corners of the brain that often go unnoticed.
Here’s to hoping something good comes out of my studio during all of this. And here’s hoping everybody reading this and everybody they know comes out of this as well.
Here’s one from the pile of stuff I’ve been listening to lately. Seems catchy and germane for today. It’s Gary Numan’s M.E.