When i think of artists, i think of writers, actors, painters, printmakers, designers (in all mediums), singers, etc. I like the word artist because it encompasses so many different creative mediums and boils it down to one word. Being an artist is a blessing because you create, imagine, and dream. After you work on your craft and share it with others, you share a piece of yourself--whether people love it or hate it, you accomplished something and it influences others in some way or another. It is every artists' dream (or at least mine) to be able to create work with meaning and leave the world a better place. Optimistic, right? Up until two months ago, i was pretty much blindly chasing my dreams of becoming an artist without any real plan on how to make it, or better yet, how to make a living to sustain myself while pursuing the artist life. I spent a year living modestly-- working for an organization i love so much. It was my dream to work for the organization and bring the film community together. The work was meaningful. Hours, blood, sweat, and tears poured into creating an experience for cinephiles, filmmakers... artists. It meant so much for me to work with a team that delved into the work, adapted, and did an amazing job. I had a ball of fun and couldn't wait to carry on that momentum into 2014.
But somewhere along the lines, after realizing the TBG 1.5 year actor showcase is coming up and there is no way i can sustain my well-being, i lost a sense of direction. I want to go on pretending everything is going to be okay. In between idealism and reality, i reached a point of delirium. I realized how much time and money it takes to reach the level of craft i want to produce. If i want to be an artist, i need to find a way to sustain the artist life. It doesn't mean buying lavish things or being a high-roller. It means knowing i can afford a meal at the end of the day and pay back my mom who have endlessly supported me through and through--and actually growing up and owning up to my dreams. If i chose to live and dream the artist life, i must be able to pay the price to attain it. In other words, i need to make a decision whether to stay or leave something that means so much to me. I left.
I remember when i first told a friend i wanted to be an artist, the first thing he asked me was how i was going to make a living. It didn't sink in, until two and something years later. It took me a while to realize how important it is, but im glad i know now. I know if i want to be an artist, i cannot be a starving artist.
So to others who want to dream and live the artist life, ask yourselves: how will i take care of myself? Afterall, being an artist is a very expensive dream to have.
To stay or go, i made another painful decision again.