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To make sense of the art life: Part 1

real talk, Art, lifestylekyle bryantComment

Lets face it, the art life can be incredibly difficult. There have been times in my career where I had to choose between art supplies or good food, studio time or a love life, deadlines or friends. I have made thousands of small sacrifices and some huge ones throughout my career, all in the name of pursuing my desire to create.

I often wonder about why I became an artist, what lead me in this direction. I always come back to one memory of sitting on the floor of my high school bedroom trying to emulate the background of an oil painting I had torn out of Art In America. For hours I sat tearing up pieces of canvas, painting them flesh tone and gluing them onto another canvas. I never finished this piece, it was the experience that stuck with me.

It was this moment of absolute peace during the most trying times of my youth that made me find art, or maybe art found me. Art became my solace, my catharsis, and most importantly, art became who I am.

As the years have passed it has become harder and harder to separate myself from the person I am and the artist I have become. I have dedicated my entire adult life to the creation of unique images. This life has offered me the most amazing highs and devastating lows.

I'm 31 years old now, I've been taking art seriously since I was 13 and I feel I'm entering a transitional period in my life where I have to wonder why I am doing it now. That feeling of solace and catharsis has become so normal to me that I have withdrawals without it, and maybe that's the real reason that I do it, but as life demands more and more my art has to fill those demands and it is certainly not an easy feat.

In this series of essays I will examine why I make art, the realities of the (or at least this) artist's life, the financial realities of creating art, the challenges along the way, and the great moments that the art life has shown me. Thankfully I'm no longer at the point in my career where buying supplies is a choice of eating ramen or making art, on the other hand though, I'm still riding my bike 8 miles to the studio and haven't seen a doctor since I was 20.

Welcome to the art life.