Tuesday, January 6, 2009

The Humdrum Life

Kirsten, an art student in San Francisco, wrote to ask what life is really like as a freelance artist.

Well, Kirsten, not all of my time is spent at the easel. And not much of it is spent in limousines, private jets, or with butlers or masseuses. Here’s a little slice of ordinary life, starting with a slide down the driveway to the post office.

The little package in our mailbox arrived from the “Sweatshop Elves,” who are occasional commentators on this blog. Thanks, Elves!

They have perfected a mysterious culture-jamming craze using origami cranes. The little package contained 26 tiny cranes, which we’ll hide in plain sight during our future travels. Watch for them!


Kyler Dannels said...

The persistent joy and curiosity with which you live your life never ceases to inspire me. I hope that when I am your age I will still be asking questions and appreciating all the beauty the world has to offer with the same level of enthusiasm as I've seen on this blog.

Endless thanks for the time you give here (and everywhere else).


Bowlin said...

HAHAHA.... That's awesome! I take it you have the peter pan syndrome.

Erik Bongers said...

Yes, I agree with the Peter Pan syndrome. It's the most important characteristic of an artist.

But seriously.
Biggest advantage of freelance illustration: job security. You can never get fired.
Biggest disadvantage: variable income. Very variable.

But the main reason I started out as a freelance artist is the fact that I can now go to shops when it's not busy. Not to mention going to the post office during working hours.

Andrew said...

Hmm...I wonder if wearing goggles makes sandwiches taste better...

Anonymous said...

I love your glasses! :)

Erik Bongers said...

BTW. Once again, the weather is EXACTLY the same in Western Europe as in NY/NJ.
Snow, half melted and frozen again to dangerous ice.

mordicai said...

My wife made 1000 cranes for our wedding. They were (are) all over the place now. Most were shredded & used to package Xmas gifts this year.

Super Villain said...

i was hopping tron goggles man was going to make another apperance!


best post ever!

McLean Kendree said...

That is the best hat. Ever. Can we get more images of the hat? Would you do a self portrait of yourself in that hat? Great hat man (and blog).

Julia Lundman said...

haha - hilarious!

i just have to add here that I worked as a freelance illustrator for about 15 years. i loved it, but at the same time after many years i began to realize that i was getting more and more disconnected with a community, friends, and pretty much everyone. in other words, isolation! i now work full time for that very reason. i just couldn't do it anymore. i think anyone that can do it successfully and stay sane, must have a lot of their ducks in a row, so to speak; community, friends, supportive relationships, activities that cultivate creativity like travel, etc. It seems like you, Gurney, do it well and successfully! Congratulations to you on that!!! :)

Victor said...

This is awesome! I love the videos.

I am a little surprised that you chose not to have your butler spoon feed you your burger that day, though.

Michael Damboldt said...

Awesome stuff!

I agree with Erik too. You can even fire your clients, even though most freelancers would shudder at the thought.

Mary Bullock said...

I'm sooooooooooo jealous!!
The Figurative Realm of Mary Bullock

Jen Z said...

Hehe, that made my day, I'm going to go play in the snow now. Will be keeping an eye out for those paper cranes, yup. Thanks!

Erik Bongers said...

Julia Lundman has a point too.
Not everyone can feel happy working on their own.
I know a person that said to me: "I wish I could do like you - work at home." Now, she is a PR person and she's made for it: she lives and breaths 'social contact'. Put her in a studio...and she dies like a plant without water.

Unknown said...

I have so much excess origami paper from my sister that I'm going to have to get in on the crane-jamming in my university and along the nearby streets.

Anonymous said...

"But seriously.
Biggest advantage of freelance illustration: job security. You can never get fired."
Very true, you always have lots of work to keep busy, but never enough money... still it's bliss ;)

I must say I love nothing more than working alone at home. I've worked in an office for 15 years and got so fed up. I do try to get out regularly and see friends and family, but I am a bit of a lone wolf.

The internet changed a lot too. You get so much feedback and you can interact with other illustrators, not long ago this was a very isolated job.