Monday, July 25, 2011

Avoid the Soul-Sucking Job: Artist Kendall Brown's Advice

What happens when artists stop making art? In this blog series, we hear from artists who have restarted making art after a hiatus and how they got back into their studio practice.  
Artist Kendall Brown with kids
Kendall Brown, Norman 
After finishing my time at OU, to make ends meet I took a soul-sucking state job and promised myself even though it wasn’t a job in the arts, I’d still create. I'd still be an artist on the side, until something better came along.


I was wrong.


For an entire year I languished doing a job I hated, making excuses for why I hadn't produced work since my capstone documentary project on HIV/AIDS in Oklahoma. I had a lot (I mean a LOT) of excuses. I didn’t have the money to travel and do documentary work. My dog broke all but one of my lenses. I didn’t have classes anymore to push me to produce or be better.


I was so discouraged, I even stopped looking for a job in the arts. It took making the decision to quit the soul-sucking job with no safety net to force me back into gear. Once I finally got out of my funk, it only took two months for me to land my dream job - Arts and Entertainment Editor for the Norman Transcript.


Now, my life is literally all art, all the time. Spending my days talking to artists that are creating inspires me to go home at night and do the same. After a year long hiatus, I’m working on one documentary project and have another (involving some pretty major travel and the challenge of switching mediums to work in film) in the works.


My advice is this: DON’T, if you can avoid it, take a job you hate. Don’t waste your time. Even if you’re cleaning toilets at an art museum, make sure you’re somewhere surrounded by creativity. Let yourself make your excuses...then tell yourself to shut up and create anyway. Even the work sucks, it sucks less than a year of producing nothing.

1 comment:

Red Sky Creative said...

Sound advice! I did the same but for a lot longer.