Monday, June 23, 2008

Grind House

A year ago, a good friend warned me that if I was to cope with the increasing demands of success, I'd have to re-organise my working life and get a better handle on my day-to-day routine. At the time, I didn't really understand what he was talking about. After all, I've been busy for the past ten years, one way or another. How different could it be?
A lot, as it has turned out. However busy I was before doesn't compare with the way things are now. The relentless demands on my time feel like some kind of existential tsunami. Being organised, diligent and disciplined is the only way to survive. Each morning, I spend two to three hours returning calls and another hour revising and updating to-do and phone lists before I even get to my drafting table. With three shows in three cities in the next nine months as well as a number of large scale commissions to complete, managing myself is a full-time job.
Sometimes, I have to remind myself that all this administrative labour is really just a by-product of the full-time job I already have – artist.
This morning, I have to plan lunches with several private and corporate collectors as well as press interviews ahead of my upcoming Melbourne show. I have to liaise with my film processors, custom printers and framers and coordinate their output with DHL's delivery schedules. My accountant is bugging me to update my monthly income and expense summaries so she can begin work on my end of year taxes and I have two models to book for shoots the week after next. I try to respond to the several dozen emails I receive a day as they come in but I prefer to accept phone calls only before 10 a.m. or after 4p.m.
All this is just the tip of a huge logistical berg that drifts through my life 24 hours a day. It's still bloody hard to get my head around and I know my slowness to learn has sometimes been frustrating for the senior members of my team. They remind me that this aspect of my career was never going to be fun but if I don't learn to manage better, I risk losing not only my sanity but everything I have worked so hard to achieve.


drips of paint said...

sounds like success is both sweet & sour ... but must organise better Hazel ... no, losing what you have achieved is not an option ..

Philip said...

It all sounds so complex or is it very simple, what do you need to achieve and what do you need to achieve it? Detail can make things sound so important, who is in control. Love your work and hope that you can make it a bit easier on yourself.

Anonymous said...

I don't think even other artists appreciate how things change once a career gains the sort of momentum yours has. It can be a heady experience, the first, fast acceleration – but who would want to miss the ride? What's most impressive is that you've not just managed to catch the ride but you've become even more iconoclastic and controversial – refusing to compromise with the system. I wonder how long it can last? Respect!