“It's sometimes so easy to get caught up in the professional and logistical aspects of making art —where is this going to go, how am I going to sell this, who will want to know about this, is this a productive use of time, am I going to benefit from this in some specific, measurable way — that I find myself losing sight of why I make anything to begin with. I feel kind of guilty enjoying making something for the sake of making it.”

Andy Sturdevant // Artist, writer, arts administrator

fuck that.

“I’m often conflicted about art being in museums and spaces where it is capsuled. It seems both unnatural and yet educational for others who may want to learn about the person making the part. Unnatural because I feel art is a living process. It doesn’t just end when the artist stop adding media to it. It continues to live a life and all the dings and nicks along the way are evidence of its time. And what if that art came to be in order for the artist to find what they actually need to do it burn the damn thing. Art is a process. Putting a value, judgementally or monetarily, feels arbitrary. ... and then they say “stick with a theme or media type so people can recognize your work”. And all I want to say is FUCK THAT. ... (deep sigh) 🤦🏻‍♀️”

Josephine Stromseth // Person, artist, art therapist, intuitive explorer

I wish someone had told me

So, I would agree that art is hard in many different facets of what we as artists and makers choose to do as a way of life or living. But I also believe that because it is hard and it requires grit and hustle, that’s what makes it amazing and worth it.

I wish someone had told me that I didn’t have to rush into the grad school life and the financial strain that comes with it. I don’t regret going straight from my BFA to MFA program but I do think I could have taken a minute to step back and fully grasp what I was getting into. With that, I wouldn’t be where I’m at now had I waited. Art in academia is a bubble that should probably be popped to expose how hard art can be once you leave the cushioned pad of university or academies. 

In regards to ethics, I am continuously worried that the people I make my work about (family & friends) will start to see my work as invasive commentary on them and who they are to me. I worry that I’m being selfish in using other people’s stories, emotions, and experiences and someday they’ll tell me to fuck off. 

I believe that art and making as an educator is more difficult than I ever realized. It’s hard to give time and attention to my printmaking after giving everything I have mentally to my students during the day. But I want to show my students that there is a life of making outside of university, you have to keep going and pushing ourselves to keep making without someone else’s set deadline.

Art is hard on the body and the mind. Especially as a printmaker my hands and joints are getting worse and worse even at in my late twenties. I am worried that I won’t have them to use the way i would like to in the coming years.

Anonymous // Printmaker and adjunct professor

this picture perfect job

There are so many things that go on behind the scenes of running a business. I try my best to show that side every now and then, especially in the age of social media where everything looks glamorous. I just want to be sure I'm never creating a misconception that being a full-time artist is this picture perfect job with picture perfect days full of painting and joy. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE. my. job. But there are still aspects that feel like work, and still days that are harder than others. I think that happens with any job - I think the quote "do what you love, you'll never work a day in your life" is far from the truth; you'll actually have to work very hard to make "doing what you love" turn into your job.

When I'm not painting, what am I doing? Emails. Bookkeeping. Googling all kinds of questions about taxes, or asking friends all kinds of questions about taxes that they will then have to google. Trying to find time for my passion projects on top of commissions. Sending out orders. More emailing. Applying for shows. Getting wholesale orders ready to ship. Post office runs. Trying to figure out the best use of my time for the day, then stopping myself from that never ending "what needs to be prioritized" list making fiasco, and just getting ONE thing done well instead of five things 10% completed. Learning how to STOP working on the weekends and evenings. Learning that there will always be more to do, so it's okay to close up shop at 5 each day and spend time with family. Walking into the living room and realizing a tornado of chaos has come through and your cute little business corner has now taken over every square inch of walking space (and you're husband comes home and asks if you were robbed). Checking on inventory to make sure everything can keep flowing, and then when you open the shipping closet realizing the SAME tornado took over the shipping supplies. This is a list that just might not ever end. 

But you know what? All of these experiences are things I have dreamed of. Because it means this is my job. So while I like to share the less glam side from time to time, don't mistake my 'keeping it real' as complaining. Because the less glam side is something I will always cherish.

 Samantha Nielsen // Full-time watercolor artist

The “artist’s eye” has been diluted

Art is hard in many ways, but I think the most profound impact is the current cultural climate we live in. An iPhone and an Instagram account doesn't make you a photographer, but I also strongly feel that you can be a brilliant photographer if the only camera you have is on your iPhone. It's a question of the eye behind the lens and it could be illustrated in a million other ways in a million other art forms. 

What "the artist's eye" is has been diluted by insta-filters and hashtags. As someone who values their own art and creates for the purpose of helping others through film and audio work and self fulfillment it sometimes seems like an impossible task to complete without some sort of comparison to that other social media account with twice as many likes or questioning the motivation behind it. Are we living in a world where we are all chasing 'likes' and seeking the justification of others or are we creating for ourselves?

That is something I battle with daily. As creators (and humans) we inherently want to share our creations but "am I posting this image or creating this video in an effort to span a broader reach or is the art I am tossing forth into the ether something that, at the end of the day, I am proud of and love?" Its those questions I think we need to ask ourselves as artist's to keep us grounded and creating for ourselves, rather than for the anonymous others on their screens.

Brian Carroll // Photographer, Film maker, wood worker


“When you live among your creative process, or rather, your creative process invades your physical and mental spaces, it can be hard to draw the line and set boundaries for a sane human existence. My studio for the longest time was in my bedroom which I shared with my girlfriend. Waking up to my projects staring me down was an unsustainable way to start my morning. I ended up being consumed by the process, taking hours for a single guitar riff, pushing important people away at the same time. It was a battle for space (physical and mental) fought along that ever so fine line between creativity and sanity.”

Caige Jambor // Musician

fallen by the wayside

After graduating with a degree in Traditional Animation in 2015 I moved to California and entered the industry in animated television. My production position as Design Coordinator requires me to manage artists directly, and have an in depth understanding of every visual asset of a show. It does not however require me to be creative. At first it didn’t bother me too much. I thrive on fast paced work and told myself I’d practice my art (photography and writing) in my free time. But, three years later, my personal art has fallen by the wayside. Any artist I work with could say the same thing—you focus so much time on someone else’s vision that you don’t have time for your own. I think I become especially hard on myself when a show is complete. I feel immense pride for the work we’ve all done, but don’t feel as though I’m someone who participated visually. At the end of the day I love my job and the talented group of people I work with. I need to work towards a change that makes my art more prevalent in my life. Before I moved to LA from Chicago I used to write every Sunday, and spent an hour editing/archiving photos at night. I’m setting goals for myself and actually listening to those around me who encourage me to create. But fuck, ART IS HARD.

Allison Morse // Design Coordinator, Photographer, Lady

art is life

“Art is so damn hard. Yet Art is life, and life is real and its filled with daily challenges ultimately to make one better. Trying to live each day to my greatest potential as an artist and yet still having to make ends meet. I have a 9-5, well 7-2 but i’m extremely exhausted by 3 and no energy to put into my bigger passion. I make list to do and feels like the week flies by before I can attempt. It’s so hard to stay organized. I’ve yet to get a permanent working space I just moved with my boyfriend and all of my materials are dripping all over our living space. Im afraid once I put things away my motivation and creativity will dull. Although my hubby to be does love the in house gallery on our walls Ive created for us, I have no where else to store them if they aren’t currently being displayed in local businesses. Work life balance, organizing, creating a business and one that is profitable to make more time for art are all my current difficulties I’m managing. Everyday “I wanna quit my job”. I just want to do what I love and live it to its greatest potential. Lol sounds a bit like poetry. Thank you all for listening. One day this will be true but for now..... “I need a nap, but cant because Creativity is striking””

Briauna Williams // Visual artist and public school health assistant