My life of late has been immersed in work. I work most of the time but recently it has been at a furious pace to keep up with the outdoors juried fairs for artists and mostly to maintain my inventory at a decent level. We did five shows in a row, one every weekend and that meant waking up very early each day and going to sleep quite late at night. It meant traveling to those shows or never leaving my studio but for an occasional break.
It made me think about how "Work" take its place into our lives. After all, once we are out of school and in many cases before, we are working at one job or the other. And that is for a long life until we retire and many of us, artists included, never retire completely since our art is an expression of who we are and how we see the world.
Artists are different and the art scene is full of graying hair people who need to express the feeling they experienced all through their life. Art is the result of a filter that we all possess and that seeps through our emotions and finally yields what we have seen or felt or heard in the form of our art.
Go to an art show and each artist has a different vision and their unique way of seeing the world. Walking an art show is like peeking into someone else's consciousness. Quite a feat.
But work could be just as creative and take another form of expression. It could be the doctor who makes sure our health is good and actively fights every threat to our state of being. It could be the fireman, the nurse, the teacher, the chef, the engineer or the truck driver to cite a few. I think there is a difference between work that is a calling, an urge to do it no matter what; and the work that is just boring; a simple routine that we do just to earn a living.
Working when our soul is not there is a difficult task. We often look at the passing of time and cannot wait for the weekend to come and give us a sort of relief through other occupations. That form of work leaves us frustrated and sad. We go home at night and try to forget the day and its activities. There is nothing to nurture our soul.
Work as a calling is different. It pursues us once we leave the job, gets in our dreams and incubates thoughts and ideas during the night. That work is rejuvenating, it brings our mind to the current problem to solve with a form of eagerness and fulfillment. So why are more people not doing it?
Sometimes infancy presents a very small vision and people, once grown, go to work as a convenient and easy road to provide for life instead of searching their soul for that thing that makes them tick. Sometimes life is tight and the circumstances do not permit people to choose. Sometimes one does not know what would the pleasing thing be and how to make it a daily opportunity. Such people are like butterflies and jump from one thing to the other never feeling satisfied. Circumstances do vary an awful lot. But often work is no more than a burden.
One thing that I know as an artist is that no matter what you do, there is a part of it that is always work. It requires discipline and sometimes the tedium of doing what you have to do. But when our work is also our life passion, despite all, we thrive with what we do and each day brings us the joy and the wisdom of creating something new. Not only us artists but what all people do in their own field. Creativity is not jut a privilege of artists.
Whether work is a pleasure or a bore we all have to work and earn a living unless presented with a rich background and our monthly expenses are covered. So let us bring our body and soul to work as my friend does who works for the government in helping poor immigrants solve their problems and so find a way to give back to the community -- a real service.
There is also the artist's form of work changing as we change and evolving as we do and that we can do for a lifetime and and never find tiring or boring. I believe we were born to do it and I guess a calling is just that.
Copyrighted 2011 Micheline Brierre