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Once again I am home for my yearly Christmas visit. Back to my childhood home and everything that comes with it, including my stuffed animal collection. I do not have a chance to come back more than twice a year, so it always seems like I have to cram in seeing everyone in a short space of time. Today’s excitement was the dentist, thank god for the rents in Michigan vs. New York, so I could afford the visit. My dream is always to come home and hang it out in my pajamas and do nothing for a change, but some how that never happens. Lately I feel like so many things are keeping me from what I want to do. With move, and trying to earn a living, exercise, and just do day-to-day chores, I don’t seem to ever have enough time. That to me is the one of the greatest challenges to being an artist. How do you find and justify the space to make work. I think that is why the Guggenheim and the other major grants are so important. While they are certainly not enough money to live on for too long without other income, they do give you a certain mandate to devote yourself exclusively to making work. You are being given money that says, “Go out and realize your artistic vision, you have no other priorities for the length of your stipend” For me, there is something about that kind of support that takes away my guilt of worrying about all the other things I feel like should be doing. I guess my mid-western work ethic never quite goes away. That is why I am so impressed with photographers like Timothy Briner, who are out in Booneville, literally, doing nothing but making their project happen. (he has a great post on Christmas) I would love more than anything to take a year and just make pictures. I think it would make me a better artist. For now, my reality is to juggle the making, post-production, and marketing of my work with paying bills. But I suppose in truth even successful artists must also balance family, work, money. That is the trick, to find a way to make a living from what fulfills you and still have a life. But I appreciate all the things I have learned from the jobs along the way to get by. But hopefully I won’t need them forever.

Proof that the Guggenheim is an artist’s good luck charm:

Diane Arbus

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Walker Evans

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Sally Mann

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Robert Frank

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Stephen Shore

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And most favorite of all for me… Joel Sternfeld

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Not to mention other artists & intellects like Richard Serra, Thelonious Monk, John Baldessari, Russell Banks, Tina Barney, Roland Barth, Eugene Richards, Judith Joy Ross, etc, etc etc!

So Santa if you are reading this, some Christmas keep me in mind.

 

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