Sometimes life throws you a curve ball that you really don’t want to see coming. Then, upon seeing that it’s not possible to ignore it any longer, you reach an understanding that it will soon hit you in the head, and so you start moving to preserve your skull. I must admit I have had a privileged life in some ways; I’ve traveled to many places in the world, I’ve been able to explore what some call hobbies, music and literature, but when I look around me, and Facebook is a superb perch to view people and their interests, the level of interests and quality therein, I realize that I am more than above average in artistic inclinations. I am an artist, I think like an artist and I work like an artist. I also get paid like an artist. I am not self-sufficient; however, circumstances being what presently they are, I need to become self-sufficient or I need to significantly lower my standard of living. I know many people, like me trained and practiced in the arts, who have chosen one or the other way to facilitate a lifestyle.
I’ve worked in offices before, mainly as in between functions to support myself while finishing Conservatory. I’ve worked, for instance, as an Assistant Registrar and as the Assistant to the Associate Pastors at the American Church in Paris, and to this date I still work an office job. Part of my routine or daily work is handling business at Violinist in Balance which provides custom made chin and shoulder rests to violinists. (An occasional viola sometimes shows up too.) I actually enjoy office work. It’s generally quiet and I get a subtle kick out of organizing things in a confined space for purposeful fulfillment of set tasks.
During these past few months kind friends and acquaintances have suggested all sorts of things to secure me a steadier income. Depending on how they see me, they either suggest something musical (for example teach a load of pop style classes to kids) or writing per page for cash. When I mention that I’d like to find an office job, they become confused. Surely, they are thinking that I am not qualified to manage an office. When was the last time I was in an office? Here’s the point to this blog: I am an office. I am an artist and therefore a product and therefore I need an office, thus I am my own office. Big time artists have offices behind them, small time artists are both the artist and the office and, let me say this, it’s hard work to set up everything so that you can carve out creative time to produce a product worth some quality whether it’s a concert or a book.
It’s gotten easier to be a credible Artist with Office with the advent of computers and computer programs. Making flyers, programs, power point presentations, excel sheets for taxes and various projects, agendas, communication, etc. is readily available. And most artists I know, musicians, visual artists, teachers, writers, etc. are very interested in these types of programs and, usually being creative and curious, learn to use them quickly. To boot we love things like blogs, soundcloud, twitter, Google Plus – in short any media platform is intriguing. Why then, I ask myself, do people not involved in the arts have difficulty seeing the skills that we artists have developed not for a corporate world, but for the basically “non-profit” world?
A singer recently commented to me, he has a consultancy business to earn a pay check that covers the rent year round, that his business clients and contacts found it difficult to digest that his LinkedIn profile not only stated that he was in the corporate world but also working as a tenor, paid in professional shows on professional stages. I suppose this all has something to do with translating skills across different mediums, but there is also the inclination to believe it is linked to profit credibility.