So You Wanna Be a Starving Artist: behind the glam

Published November 21, 2012 by admin

So my good friend Susan Roddey had a fabulous post the other day about what it really means to be a working writer. You can find that post – and how she outs me about my embarrassing habit of dressing like a hobo – HERE

Seriously, though, that’s about it in a nutshell. Life as a starving artist, or any artist…it’s going to be grimier than it is glitzy. This week alone I’ve got two days of evening rehearsals for a holiday show I’m doing, a day of load-in/set-up/rehearsal/preview night performances, one day off, and then we open officially.

And I’m editing my Christmas release with Mocha Memoirs Press.

And I’m working on two requested stories, both with deadlines breathing down my neck.

Plus some last-minute swag.

Plus Christmas stuff in general.

I’ve been bumming it all week…why? Because I’m exhausted. Seriously, people should be happy I’m actually alive and breathing at the moment, let alone waking up at some sort of normal time and getting anything done.

Honestly, I’m a little pleased that no one has to see my face in the show so I can look however the hell I want. Because it’s bound to get cold at some point during the run, I’m more concerned about having enough long underwear to last then looking cute.

My point is, artists are human, too. At some point comfort (and getting things done) comes over vanity and glam.

Granted, I’m not bad. I clean up pretty damn well. I can act like a professional. I can act like a sophisticated adult (some days). But if staying in my sweats and wearing my glasses and such  helps me get more done…well yeah, I’m going to go that route.

I do think it’s important to put a good face forward, mind you. Public image is important, I’m not denying that. But at some point you have to do the actual artistic work, first, and believe me…it’s way more effective some days to just stay in your pj’s if you can get more done.

So sorry if I’ve shattered the image, but yep…that’s the life of an artist. That’s me as a costume designer/seamstress, me as a performer, me as a writer. I like hoodies, I like yoga pants, I like slipper-socks. I like curling up under a blanket and having a movie on in the background. I like knitting for no reason to spur my creativity. I like a mug of tea at my side and a cat on my lap (usually wedged between me and the laptop). Seriously, where does it say that I come up with ideas better in a cocktail dress than I do in torn-up jeans and a band shirt? And yet that’s the image people like to cling to…the put-together artiste who never steps out of line.  I do think guys get away with this more…it irks me that as a chick I tend to do better at social events if I go above and beyond. Which is fine – I can easily do it…but dude, have you ever worn a pair of heels for ages on end? Have you crammed yourself into form-fitting stuff and trotted around a hot, crowded convention for sixteen hours? Not the most fun thing in the world, especially when you have to make sure your makeup isn’t running and you still smell like an acceptable member of society – especially if you’re trying to network.

Just remember – all those lovely awards ceremony type photos you see of people, those red carpet shots, or convention shots…they’re nice. They’re great. Those are pictures of people putting their best foot forward…underneath we’re all exhausted, grimy, and human, too.

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One comment on “So You Wanna Be a Starving Artist: behind the glam

  • OMG you have just described me and my situation at the moment perfectly !! I’m actually wearing my hoodie with yoga pants and glasses as I write this now !! In fact, I’ve been dressed like this all day and have even been out and about like it, and have had comments from F & F’s which go something like; ‘Dude! What the hell, you look like a vagrant’ etc etc. One of the reasons I think I have provoked comments is because I, like you, have always put my best face forward and at one time would never have dreamed of leaving the house without a full face of make-up. But what can I say? Sometimes an artist just has to do what she’s gotta do to get the job done (0;

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