Money is a funny thing.
For a start it is just this idea that we all agree to and now hardly ever even touch…it just exists as numbers on a screen and we believe the banks when they tell us how much of it we have or haven’t got.
And it is so relative.
Sometimes in my life being able to eat at a cafe has been a major splurge and other times I have eaten at a cafe for lunch every day of the week and not really thought about it.
$1 = $1 plus the context in which we are spending it!
Ain't that the truth.
Ok. So years ago I was a full time contemporary dancer (seriously), which meant I worked about half a year as a dancer and then the other half I would be very poor and apply for grants and try and scrape together a living. Then I decided I was sick of asking the government for permission to make things and that I wanted to be self funded.
Yep. Self funded.
I had this vision to set up a business that would make enough money that I could retire and have wads of cash to create art with.
That didn't quite happen.
I did succeed in building myself the best possible day job I could ever hope to have.
But I realised I fell into a bit of a trap.
Essentially, by setting up one thing (a business) to fund another thing (my creative work), I was saying 'the creative things I make are not valuable enough to society for people to pay me enough money to survive so I will have to earn money some other way instead and do that stuff for free because I love it and you shouldn't be paid to do things you love, should you?"
What did I just do to myself?
In fairness, I also wasn't that clear what I wanted to create. I knew being a full time contemporary dancer wasn't my whole practice as an artist and that I wanted to say and do more in the world...so spending years building a business also gave me time to sort out what I want to do and say as an artist in the world.
Now I am clear.
I want to make things that help people to reflect on the world as it is, imagine the world as they want it to be and take actions that make that world come to life.
I'm also clear that the things I make and the way I make them are often the catalyst for this kind of change.
I'm clear that what I make is valuable. Incredibly valuable.
But I forget that all the time. I question it, I double back on myself and get all lost and filled with doubt. It is very difficult to hold and believe in that value.
I have to remind myself of that moment during a Campfire where someone cracks their heart open for us and shows a raw truth, or that text message I got after a performance of Dear Self where someone told me they were inspired and emboldened by me to share their poetry with their life partner for the first time ever, or that story someone told me of their work colleague who had to stop looking at my website at work because they were getting too emotional.
I see the value of what I create in the faces of the people who connect with it and I am humbled.
And now, I have realised, it is time to leap. Because I feel like more people need the things I create in their life. More people would benefit from coming to a Campfire and connecting with themselves and other humans. More people would get some joy out of my Dear Self daily reflections. More people could benefit from a drawing that reminds them of something unusual or quirky or particularly painful or lovely about the world.
Doing this part time just isn't going to cut it.
Which is why I am now working on my goal of returning to being a full time artist.
How can you help?
Well that's simple.
If you like what I do invest in it and share it.
Book a seat at Campfire, read Dear Self, join my mailing list, host a Dear Self performance, support me with a monthly contribution or visit the shop and buy something.
I'd love to have you on board.