Living in Wisconsin we often encounter unpredictable weather. One day it will be 80 degrees and unbearably humid. The next day 60 degrees, cold, and rainy. Wisconsin weather definitely ebbs and flows just like the art world. This summer the weather felt great. However, when it rained it poured. We have had a few storms that crept through Sheboygan. When it rains, grass grows a lot. Looking back to the start of the summer, I realized that I found myself cutting the lawn at least twice a week. At first, I enjoyed it. But now, not so much. It became another chore; another thing to do. But, I knew it had to be done. It was important to keep the grass manicured for its health. Did you know that cutting the grass for 50 minutes burns 400 calories? Riding lawnmowers do not count.
I do a lot of thinking when I cut the lawn. I think about art, Artdose Magazine, the art world. Big surprise, right? I enjoy making connections between life and art. When I think about cutting the lawn, I think about the importance of maintaining my ‘art world’. Am I accomplishing my goals? Am I making my ideas become reality? Am I impacting others? Am I burning myself out?
Here is how I break down this activity.
Cutting the lawn – is about maintaining the health and appearance of our studio practice, social engagement, and participation in whatever defines us as artists. The past 18+ months have been difficult for many. Opportunities gone or postponed. Artists embraced the thing that gave comfort and that is their art, their creative world. Artists learned how to navigate the digital world, took risks, used this time to focus on their physical and mental health, and to make sense of this new way of connecting with audiences, collectors, and fellow artists. All of this is important to maintain our presence and to make our voices heard.
When we think about our art practice, we should also think about the business side of art. Similar to cutting the lawn, it can be a chore. But, it has to be done. It is the only way to make sure that we are addressing what needs to be taken care of for the sake of our art practice.
Edging – is about focusing on details. Making sure what we are best equipped with whatever we may need to a) submit exhibition proposals, b) lead a virtual workshop, c) update social media platforms and website, d) stay in touch with collectors, and e) plan for 2022. I’ve seen neighbors use edgers and even scissors to make sure that their lawn looks at its best. The use of scissors is a bit too extreme, however, there is always more than one way to get the job done.
Trimming – is about taking a closer look at what is important for you and your art career right now. As I get older, I am realizing that less is more. We enrich our lives when we surround ourselves with people that support what we do as artists. I am not implying that you stop talking to other people, but rather to focus your energy and time in a more meaningful and constructive way. Life is too short and unpredictable just like our Wisconsin weather.
Lastly, tools. We need to make sure that we also maintain the tools that contribute to our success. This could range from maintaining your website to taking professional development workshops for artists, updating the good ol’ artist statement and biography to investing in a professional headshot, and perhaps revisit the use of business cards.
I would love to know your thoughts. Connect with me at @frankjuarezartist.