I haven’t written a blog for a long time and I apologise. This isn’t so much a blog as a nod to the world of Facebook: ten amazing facts about being self-employed and, more specifically, a self-employed artist.
I’ll write a proper blog soon. I promise.
1. Spiders love studios and the big ones especially enjoy snuggling up to artists when they are doing something fiddly with Indian ink.
2. Moths hate studios and will take any opportunity to kill themselves by adhesion to wet prints, especially if they can achieve this by being chased onto the print by a cat.
3. People are uneasy when you open the door to them mid-afternoon wearing pyjamas, a woolly hat and a large apron splattered with scarlet, but the couriers get used to it.
4. It is entirely possible for an artist who is no longer bound by a school timetable to lose track of time. My clock stopped at 2 o’clock and I believed it was 2pm from about 12pm until 6pm when I wondered why it was dark at 2pm.
5. The people of Radio Four cannot hear you shouting however loud and shouty you get. This is probably a good thing.
6. The Archers are not your friends
7. You can play the honourable game of ‘self-employed poker’. The rules are simple: you call a self-employed friend and say ‘I had an abscess on my molar (simple colds and slight aches are not acceptable) and still taught/saw a client/met a commission’ to which your self-employed friend says ‘I see your abscess and I raise you an ear infection, a high temperature and a class of disaffected teenagers’. At the end of the year the most extreme illness wins.
8. Your excellent sense of colour and composition will make choosing household sundries a nightmare. Hours spent on the Internet because it’s obvious that every ironing board cover you see has been designed by a moron on crack cocaine.
9. Visitors will want to improve your studio for you. In my case they usually want me to add plumbing. I suspect if I had plumbing they’d suggest a fridge or a small kitchen or a Jacuzzi. This causes me the conflict of pride in being as hardy as Bear Grylls in my primitive hovel and tired because I thought through the plumbing conundrum long ago and have decided a bucket is the answer.
10. You describe real days off as days off-off because simple days off always involve work, but in a lesser sense; perhaps a trip into town to buy supplies for students (trip into town yaay!) while the day off-off is a wonderful but slightly anxious time where you take a complete break from work, but know there is something missing. A bit like leaving your baby behind at a service station.
Your family will give every appearance of being completely unimpressed by the original artwork you send annually as a Christmas card, but look hard enough and you’ll find the drawer where they have carefully stashed each and every one. Do not mention your find to them, it will ruin everything.