I'm headed to Germany today for a week of crafty girl time with my sweet friend Nathalie.
The Mixed Media Circus event we hosted in Hamburg.
Our visit to Berlin's East Side Gallery.
And all the amazing street art that I saw in Germany:
I'm looking forward to a whole new set of artistic adventures with my sweet and talented friend. I will do my best to post our adventures to instagram, twitter, and facebook while I'm away. And I've got plenty of blog posts lined up for you while I'm gone.
Thanks for stopping by!
I get a lof of questions from people about being a full-time artist.
Yes, it's awesome.
No, I don't spend all day painting and playing.
Yes, I do still have to do lots and lots of stuff that I don't want to do.
No, I can't think of another job I'd rather have.
I'm super grateful for this lucky life that allows me to do what I love. But something I have to remember every day is that while I'm an artist, I'm also a business. There's a lot that goes into running a business. Some of it fun, some it boring, but all of it important.
Today I thought I'd share a list of a few of the things that are true for my life as a full-time artist.
Hi, my name is Julie and I'm a workaholic.
Anybody who is self-employed will tell you that they work more, not less, than when they worked for someone else. That said, I like working, even when I hate the tasks, because I love that sense of forward motion -- that I'm getting stuff done. Let's face it, it takes a great deal of discipline to work for yourself. The idea of lying on the couch, watching TV, and eating bon-bons is spectacularly tempting. So to avoid that temptation I tend to fling myself a bit too far in the other direction and work all day long.
The upside of being a workaholic is that I'm quite prolific. The downside is a real lack of a personal life. Something I'm working on right now is finding the right balance. It's an ongoing struggle for me. So thank goodness that...
I have a great team.
I've gotten a number of e-mails and comments from folks who talk about "the Balzer Designs team." This has always made me giggle because I imagine a group of middle-aged men with clipboards, wearing polo shirts with the Balzer Designs logo embroidered on them. Sadly, the Balzer Designs team happens to be a team of one:
Although, I will admit that my Mom answers some most all of the Stencil 101 requests. So maybe a team of two:
Okay, so maybe it's a team of ten or twelve?
I spend most days by myself. In a city of 8 million people, I'm just an anonymous girl sitting high up in a shoebox in the sky. Having people I can call, whom I can talk to, who get "it" -- that's so essential to alleviating stress and making me feel less alone. I suppose if I get really successful I may actually hire a team of people to take some tasks off of the table. But for now, I simply appreciate the fact that I have a team of emotional supporters -- people who are generous with their time, advice, and good sense.
I spend more time on the computer than anywhere else.
I think it's very easy to get sucked into the computer. There's always a long to-do list of computer tasks that must be completed. It's definitely something that I struggle with. That said...
I enforce an "Art Every Day" policy.
There is a real danger of getting lost in the business and forgetting about the art. Some people are able to maintain a discipline about exercising every day. I maintain the discipline of arting every day. It can be a small project like a tag or big project like a 30x30 canvas, but I never want to lose the joy of creating to the daily grind of the business.
When I ran a theatre company I had a single very important rule: every member of the company had to participate in the annual ten-minute play festival. Why? Because I believed that by working on a production each company member would be reminded of why they loved the theatre. It was so easy to lose the love of playwriting or directing when all you did was support the business of the theatre. And sure enough, it worked! Each year at least one member of the company would tell me that participating in the festival had revived his or her spirits!
Keeping this story in mind, I am sure to create art every single day.
For every hour of art I make, I probably spend 3-4 on other tasks. It's not a ratio that I'm happy with, but it's what makes my business go. So, I'm going to live with it for now.
I hope that was a helpful peek into my life as a full-time artist. Thanks for stopping by!
I'm so delighted that summer appears here to stay. I love that it stays light for hours and hours. Life just seems so much fuller in the summer, doesn't it? Here are five images that tell me that summer is here:
What are the signs of summer for you?
Thanks for stopping by!
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