Tuesday, May 11, 2010
The Artist As Salaryman
My new studio isn't a patch on my old one. It's smaller, in a mid-city space shared with other artists. I haven't had time to set it up properly so it's neither comfortable nor efficient – nothing more than three and half walls and a paint-stained floor. Nevertheless, my first two days at work here have been very productive.I stick to a routine. I plan each day in detail, taking care not to crowd the hours so I'm able to complete each task I set myself. I limit my time in the studio – and with it my exposure to carcinogenic enamel fumes – to no more than half a day. I spend two hours at the gym afterwards. Whatever's left, I leave free for meetings or hole up in my hotel room, where I draw, catch up with phone calls and correspondence, or conceive new work. I used to measure a successful week by the amount I crammed into it. The trouble was, too many ended with little if anything actually done. Now I look to the long haul and an accumulation of small successes that, over months, add up to substantial accomplishment.It's not particularly romantic. The time management and attention to mundane detail can feel like the daily grind of a regular office job. But I bear in mind the words of Gustave Flaubert: "Be regular and orderly in your life like a bourgeois, so that you may be violent and original in your work."