8/14/08

Money. MoneyMoneyMoneyMoney

Well it was worth the effort to redo this piece, the guy bought it.

I'm having an interesting time when it comes to money. A brief recap would show that in my late teens I made, this was in the late 70's, easily 300+ a week. Back then McDonald's let you work overtime. I would do 80 hr weeks sometimes. Yep, I lived there. I got promoted often and by the time I was 19 yr old I had keys to the joint, closed the joint, took the daily payroll to the bank. My future was bright if I wanted to live in polyester forever.

Then the harder years...the going out on my own, leaving the Midwest and going full on west. I made less, drank more and never had a dime. I was stupid with money.

The massage therapist years were profitable but I also pissed that away until the very end when I got serious about saving money. It was just enough to, unbeknownst to me, allow me to one day quit and fling myself back out into the unknown.

I've somehow scraped by since becoming an artist and living in Vermont. Were I not care taking and having free board, I can't imagine I would have made all the art I've made to date, at least in such a short time. As most of you know last Jan. I started the taxi driving gig and that pretty much petered out in Spring, so the summer has been supplemented with pulling weeds and selling a little art.

I'm finding I am learning all over again about money. Am I happy when I sell art? You betcha. But in my awful honesty I also find I feel frustrated because it feels like a bottomless pit with owing money and feeling like I cannot wait to start saving again for ME. I really want to have that nest egg big and fat. I want to know I can go out and buy some land, get me an earthship to live in and build a studio. I also know that it is all in the doing and not the having. I also know I need to be grateful and happy regardless because zillions of dollars sitting in a bank isn't going to make me content or happy. I might feel a sense of security that I don't feel right now, but even that I know isn't real. I know money is an avenue but not the keeper of my experiences.

Earlier this year a gallery I was in sold two pieces, I'm still waiting to be completely paid for it. I still have a hard time letting that one go, she is in dire straights and I can't hold my breath. At this point it's just a few hundred $$ and while that doesn't seem like much, it is to me when I take into account she got her half and I'm still waiting for mine. It seems inexcusable to me to spend another person's $$. I've asked for as little as $20 a month, it would have been nearly paid off by now. I still wrestle with this and it feels like it has ruined my friendship as I feel resentment and frustration. Maybe I have just been too foolish in the past and the times I lent people money and never got paid back have ganged up behind my shoulder to make this seem much worse than it is. Maybe I am bugged because with this gallery owner I felt I had to ask so many times when I will get paid, it felt like pulling teeth each time. There are artists who get totally screwed. In the scheme of things it isn't that big of a deal. Maybe it would be different if I knew I had money coming in. It will be a month before I see money from the recent sale. It will be another two months before the piece at the other gallery comes to fruition as the person is making payments. So I obviously have money issues on my plate. Time to look at this relationship differently. Maybe it is time to find a way to not dread, not be afraid of, not resent, not fear MONEY. There is irony in the fact that I am healthier than I've ever been in my life. Irony in the fact that I'm FINALLY responsible with money and not a wasteful person with money. I've read the money books, I know how to be smart with money. Yet is is a process, and I guess this is my issue to resolve right now. To be obsessed with money and wanting it for it's own sake feels wrong. That isn't what I'm after. Balance is key I guess. I'm working on it.

11 comments:

Mary Buek said...

Very interesting post. . . my husband doesn't care about money at all (see my post today.) I live in fear that we won't have enough to cover the basics, let alone my books and art materials. We average each other out. You are a brave and courageous person to have done what you did with your life and your work. Your talent will make good things come your way.

self taught artist said...

thanks mary, I hope you are right! nothing is a guaranteed is it? in the end all that worry about money seems like such a waste. only action helps, worry, what is THAT actually anyhow?

Daniel Sroka said...

I have one small comment on the deadbeat gallery. Don't fret about asking for the money. Instead, send her an invoice each month, like clockwork. She should've settled accounts in 30 days. Don't worry about her issues -- she made money from you, and instead of paying what she owes, she used that money for other creditors. Time for her to pay up.

self taught artist said...

I have asked, every month. I'm told she hasn't money. There isn't much I can do other than be patient.

Daniel Sroka said...

Don't just ask - do it in writing. Start a paper trail, just in case.

self taught artist said...

oh god i knew you were going to say that.

San said...

OUCH! That hurts--not to be paid for art that has sold. I don't understand why the owner isn't receptive to paying you in those tiny installments you suggested.

There's always small claims court. I've been there twice. Once to sue a shipper in San Francisco who didn't insure art he shipped for us. AFTER charging us for insurance. He got away with this for months until a piece was damaged during shipment. The other time was to sue a landlord who kept a damage deposit out of pure greed. The first case was dropped on a technicality, so we had to go to the State Attorney General's office. They got most of the money out of the shipper. The latter case was a laydown in our favor. The landlord showed up with a lawyer, which made her look incredibly suspicious, and she didn't have a case whatsoever. Both situations, although ultimately working out in our favor, were HIGHLY stressful though.

San said...

I must add: I FEEL for gallery owners, being one myself. We juggle a lot of ungodly expenses. Knock on wood, I haven't gotten behind in paying artists. I have, however, known good people who did. Not because of dishonesty but because of mismanagement in the form of overspending on advertising (in hopes of pleasing artists), and occasionally, really bad luck. If, however, the owner can't come forth and pay those tiny installments, something seems a bit fishy.

Bob Johnson said...

Paula you are way too nice, I'd be after her friend or foe, like Daniel said, start a paper trail, oh and what's wrong with polyester, cheap and easy to care for,lol.

sarala said...

I love that piece. I agree with people who go before that you deserve to be paid for your work. It is one of the traps of working for yourself. You must have run into it in your massage therapist years or did they all pay up front? I feel for you though.
I love the piece you just sold.

self taught artist said...

you lost me on the polyester bob
long and short of it is, i realize I cannot make someone pay me (other than going through the court system and even then...) and it doesn't feel healthy for me to keep asking. It isn't my karma to deal with.
no sarala, never had clients stiff me when I worked as a therapist. I had regular family types, good people.