Although I have been a performance artist for more than twenty years, I have yet to become a household name or limit myself to only performing for money or supporting myself as an artist.
Like so many of my friends, I was lead to believe that paying dues ( no health insurance, money for basic necessities and the constant fear of homelessness and a financial upheaval that would totally derail me) would somehow work out in the end and the Universe would reward my heartache and sacrifice with a tv show, a movie deal or best yet, a writing position on an emmy award-winning series.
While the folks I have known and loved for decades often chided me for giving up, I figured out the big dirty secret that no one is willing to look at much less talk about.
People who are successful in anything have a plan and a serious support network. Nobody stumbles onto success and yet we all have been hoodwinked into thinking that if we sell our souls, pimp our friends and haughtily refuse to do anything as detrimental or beneath us as getting a job that pays us regularly that somehow we have failed.
I am living proof that this is deeply flawed, stupid and keeps all who invest in it in deep shit.
Is it possible to be a productive artist and take care of yourself in the process?
It took years of fighting with significant others, a move to the West Coast and multiple bouts of homelessness to realize that the path I’d been “assigned” as an artist was causing more grief than joy and something had to seriously change.
While my focus has been on Burning the Manual in terms of corporate America and all nine to five gigs, it is equally important to decimate the manual given to artists because our culture loathes, fears and aggressively misunderstands us and what we do (our contributions).
LET ME REPEAT -YOU DON’T HAVE TO BE BROKE TO BE CREATIVE!!!!!
As artists we are trained to think, process and pursue things in a certain manner.
While the training matters and is most essential, we are not trained in ways that ensure we can create and self sustain.
We are encouraged by fearful and misguided folks both in and outside of our field that you can have money or art.
Never together at the same time.
As an artist who creates daily and is now very financially solvent, it is my mission to encourage and demand that all artists Burn the Manual of deprivation, sacrifice and any type of tomfoolery that prevents them from creating art and financially supporting themselves.
A new day is coming and we need people creating (from a place of abundance) because they must.