Trials and tribulations of an emerging artist

Life was much easier when I wasn’t following my dreams… the path was clear and I knew both what to do and what was expected of me. Not to mention that there was almost instant, measurable results from my efforts along with a sizable paycheck as the reward of a job well done.

The creative path I have chosen, isn’t as clear, I tend to veer off in different directions at any given moment. The words of my love and follow photographer, Jene Youtt, echoes in my mind… stay focused and KISS.

But I am a gemini and naturally a multi-tasker, so I jump from 1 thought to another because there is so much that needs to be done in order to market oneself. Juried competitions to enter, updating websites, trying to network, seeing what’s out there, trying to get your work seen and then there’s the all important entity of creating one’s art. Let us not forget — bills to pay… you have to try to parlay your creative endeavors with keeping a roof over your head and food on your table.

I had retired in April of 2007, took 14 months off, built a simple website, traveled with Jene to Japan and Cambodia, put together some interesting portfolios and learned a little about Aperture, Photoshop, Indesign, and a few other necessary programs. Watched my savings dwindle and when our economy was starting it’s downward spiral, a freelance stint fell into my lap. What should have been 2 weeks to a month turned into 2 weeks shy of a year’s worth of paychecks. Not complaining at all.

Sometimes, I feel like I am on a treadmill (without the benefit of weight loss). I spend so much time and effort in order to keep moving forward. But I am moving forward and my work is starting to gain interest and even sales. My handcrafted wearable art had sold in a salon/gallery in Manhattan, Midoma and an alternative shoppe in Va, called 24 Crows. My photography is on several websites, including my own, ArtSlant, WIPI, Ward-Nasse Gallery and the Center for Fine Art Photography. 10 prints are at the Soho in Hoho Gallery inside Granny’s Attic in Hohokus, NJ. The student monks print sold to a lady from the NY Housewives Bravo network show immediately after being hung. My excitement was hard to contain.

In April both Jene & I were honored to participate in the Friends Without A Border, 7th annual Fundraiser in NY. My image, “One Dollar, One Dollar” was auctioned for $460 and Jene’s “Timeless” raised $500 for the very worthy cause. Our trip to Cambodia last year is where we learned of famed photographer Kenro Izu and the Hospital he helped build in Siem Reap, The Angkor Hospital for Children, which is now in it’s 10th year and treats children for free. We were touched deeply by the open hearted warmth of the Khmer people and knew that through our art, we would give back to the children who had an impact on us.

One dollar, one dollar

“One Dollar, One Dollar”

Timeless-print-web

” Timeless”

The feeling of giving back was priceless.

Keeping interest in your art is not something you can relax about… unless of course you are in the gallery/curator circles. With everyday, comes a new challenge, Jene changed inks in his printer, did a nozzle check and now 2 carts are clogged instead of the 1 before he spent time working on it. I had printer issues with my Epson, having to replace a not quite empty cart which urks me as it is a waste of ink and therefore money. Need to order mats for the Hoboken Open Studio Tour on the 14th. The money starts flowing one way – out. Just one of those necessary operating expenses in order to get your stuff out in front of the public’s eye.

So much to do, so little time to do it in… given the choice of doing what I love and earning a really good living, I now choose my art.

La vita bella.

http://marywehrhahn.com

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