I had a great conversation recently with a steward at an art fair.
She asked me if I had enjoyed the fair (which I had). In return, I asked if she was going to get an opportunity to see it. She said yes, which was good as she had friends manning stands and exhibiting, so she would see what they were getting up to.
I asked if she was an artist herself, which she was. “In which medium?”
“It varies, depending on what I can afford.”
I loved this answer. Obviously, a better answer could have been something like, “I work in bronze because I sell enough work to pay for the materials and foundry space.”
A worse answer could be, “Well, I’m not doing anything at the moment as I can’t buy materials.”
“It varies, depending on what I can afford”, is a real creative’s answer. If the wherewithal were available, she would be working in Italy with bronze; if not, she works in her bedroom using paper clips and paper cups. (I have written about this before and how Grayson Perry and Edith Whorton dealt with lack of materials.)
I hate the whole concept of poor, starving creatives living hand to mouth. It prolongs the stereotype that creative people never earn enough to live (even in the mindsets and expectations of the people themselves).
However, I love the commitment to the idea that creativity is not dependent on money, that creativity is a force, an energy in itself.
It’s that thing which sees one person always with a camera in his hand; another always with a sketchbook; another with a notebook. Or with a pencil and a napkin if that is all that is available.
Materials may be scarce, but creativity is always in abundance.
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