Saturday, February 28, 2009

identity crisis

i have been thinking a lot lately. this is partly because i have been home sick in bed all week with nothing to do but think. and it is also because i'm in my last semester of my grad program and starting to look a what i will do when i finish.

ever since i started grad school i have been feeling detached from my artist-self. i have been spending all my time in classes, working at my internship, and writing my thesis. i am doing all this work to cultivate an identity as an art therapist, that i feel like i have sort of abandoned my ongoing development as an artist. like i had to trade in my artist identity in order to carve out the space for art therapist identity. its not that i have stopped making things - i haven't. i just feel like by throwing myself into art therapy i have given up in a way on ever really being an artist. sort of like a "those who can't do, teach" type of a thing. does that make sense? probably no. because i am not really making sense to myself either.

i know that in many ways it's not "realistic" to try to be an artist. but then i see all these people who do it somehow, and some who even manage to make it look easy. and i wonder, if i really put myself into it, could i make it work too? am i hiding behind this other thing because i'm too afraid of trying (and failing) at what i really want to do?

here i am in the gallery where i had my first solo show.


Erin Lang Norris said...

So I don't consider myself an artist, but I do know what you are trying to say.

I devoted several months to staying at home and making things full time, to sell, and I thought it would be the most glorious thing ever. Who was I kidding? It really had it's ups and downs...Ups: I was on my own schedule, making things to sell. Downs: I was on my own schedule, making things to sell. And of course running out of this or that all the time and having projects that were "in the works" strewn about the apartment while my husband quietly, and not so quietly, questioned my organization skills (read: "erin...your shit is EVERYWHERE.") Haha, I tried explaining that it just isn't feasible to clean up every time just to take things back out when I got in the groove again.

Anyway, that being said- I stopped making things for a few months. Got a full time job so I would have a more focused schedule and reliable source of income. All the packaging and communication and messes just really got to me. People weren't buying like they used to so that had something to do with it too.

And you know what I did yesterday? Started making things again...

For me it's kind of a love-hate relationship. I love the making part. I hate the organization part.

Anyway. I'm babbling. But what I'm trying to say is that if you have an itch to do this, then you need to do it. It's all a balancing act, really. And it requires way more time than I'd ever imagined...

Good luck with whatever you choose to do. :)

Megan said...

I know exactly what you're talking about. I feel like a failed artist, and I'm not even a teacher! Anyway, it may not feel like art to you, but I think your photographs are beautiful and your flickr stream is like my own little Lizzie Gallery I get to view every day. I love the little things you make and the way you decorate your apartment. They are small things, but to an outsider like me, they make you a real artist. Maybe someday you'll have time for a show of some sort, but for now, just keep up the little things.

Lizzie said...

thank you for your sweetie sweet words. i'm actually pretty surprised to hear that you both feel similarly -- to me each of you are as much an artist as i can think of. you both run your own creative businesses all by yourselves! you make art everyday as part of your job. i am really, honestly in awe of that.

Megan said...

Thanks Lizzie! It's always good to hear that from a fellow artist.

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