Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Marking Time

I've become acutely aware of the need to micromanage my life.
Today, while I painted, my assistant started filling in a schedule for the next 18 months on a huge planning sheet pinned along one wall of my studio. She's only about halfway through but already it looks like a large-scale, abstract map of my life, with the course of time and events described by dated boxes, long, parallel lines (the proposed work flow for several new paintings), color codes, arcane symbols and key words.
When I study it, I feel like a general in one of those old, black and white war movies, overseeing the execution of a battle strategy – except, in my case, there has never been much of a strategy other than to paint a lot. Each day is divided into time-frames for specific tasks. My assistant's diary, which is kept in an electronic form on both her computer and a Palm Tungsten PDA, with excerpts copied onto my computer, as well as printed out and pinned over my desk, is crammed with detailed instructions and reminders to ensure that it all runs smoothly.
Even unfinished, the
complex schedule is something of a reality check. Nearly every day, including weekends, for the next six months is accounted for. There are enough commissions to last until the end of next year, even without my next Melbourne show, which is a year away and pre-selling even before I've finished the preliminary sketches – and I still have to confirm '06 dates for two overseas shows.
The was a time, not too long ago, when I would have felt constrained, even a little frightened, by the idea that such a long span of my life could be so strictly accounted for. Now I find it reassuring and energising. I guess I must be growing up.


Anonymous said...

Woah! I'd find such a schedule mildly unnerving, yet it must be good for one's security and sense of purpose.
Ask you assistant to drop a couple of "mystery boxes" into your planner for random road trips to feed the soul.


Jules Faber said...

In many ways I used to feel the same as you Hazel. I understand the transformation of shaky ideals into real actions. Even now, when I have weeks of bookings before me it both restricts, confines AND sets me free.
It's a paradox and one I find myself nodding along to reading your words.

Yet, I don't believe you need to 'grow up' to be organised. I manage my life, my adventures and my wonderful partner without a complex, hour-heavy schedule. We're both artists and we get along just fabulously with our devil-may-care lifestyle.

To us, it's about making a living, and not so much 'making money'... of course, we still have to meet deadlines and that's as I noted above. Personally, I like deadlines - I'd never start anything if given a choice - and I like making money. I'd rather do that than work the shithouse jobs I worked for ten years to get where I am.

I hope I never forget that, you know; the years that built me. I appreciate every single job that comes in, every single dollar that keeps me from being what I was before.
Art truly is transformation.