Despite romantic notions, attached to it by popular imagination, art making is still a job: an arduous (physically and psychologically speaking) self-invented, self-assigned, self-financed, self-invested task.
Its calling requires multi-stages of less-than-exalted preparatory work: conception, strategic planning, material procurement & preparation … and, in the final, actual, doing – neurotically-freighted, spirit-grinding, sweat-equity. Doing. Is it coincidental that Doing (!) is also the sound of an immovable head (a cartoon head, mind you) being hammered by an irresistible object? Usually a scaled-up wooden carnival-mallet.
Add to the stringent art-making, art-life, equation a preset deadline(s), the looming prospect of having to, so to speak, ‘stand with the bride at the altar’ and thereafter answer to the socially sublimated “how’d it go” – which, when roughly translated, means “did you sell anything” (a question you dare not put to yourself, lest you recoil from pushing on) and what there remains of fancifully pursued creative life, and its ephemeroptera-lifespan-long reproductive-cycle of possible fecundity and fleeting joy is, if not mercifully short, then brutish.
Worse yet, if worse is even possible to imagine, or survive, would be to be simply ignored. Can one be ‘simply’ ignored? To be identified (compose yourself now) as a (shudder here) ‘failed-artist’.
For a fortunate minority of artists (when a body of work is reasonably resolved) a millisecond’s satisfaction, nay, delight - as an artist’s clandestinely entertained and extravagantly pictured comet of genius flashes through his-or-her chronically delusional firmament of self-hood - is all that there is to sustain. And all that’s needed.
Now, get sick - on top of that.
I’m sick (with flu?) and painting, as I write this. Well, right before I wrote this. I’m too palsied after four horrid hours (in the painting saddle-chair) to trust my hand, eye and decision making capacity for the duration. And I’ll (likely) be sick and painting on Christmas Day. Tomorrow.
Kiwi menfolk (and some Kiwi women) would consider what I’ve just typed as whingeing.
“Harden-the-fuck-up cupcake”, they’d likely advise.