In many ways I’ve been treating my daily life over the past few months as if I was on an extended residency in an unfamiliar locale. This has helped me break some habits and overcome various fears that have been holding me back. I don’t really want to get too pop-psychological, but I’ve had conversations with a number of people about some of the strategies I’ve been using to cope with the business side of life as an artist. The overall impression I get is that there is interest in what I’ve been doing, and that it seems to have wider applicability than my own life.
My goal for the past few months has been very careerist. I want to get as much as possible out of the fact that at present I have devoted my energy and focus—not to mention money—to becoming financially self-sustaining in my art practice. I noticed that I had some habits that needed breaking in order to get the most out of my time. As a thought experiment, and a way of tricking myself into some desired behaviours, I decided to try as much as possible to treat my daily life as if I was on an arts residency. Therefore, a more accurate—and unwieldy—title for this post is “Treating the Daily Grind of the Artist’s Life as a Residency.”
For those unfamiliar with artist residencies, they take many forms. The general idea is that an artist goes to some distant local for the sake of creating or researching work. Often there is a group of other creative individuals with which to talk shop. Sometimes there is interaction with the public. The idea, though, is for an artist to get a change of perspective and eliminate some of the distractions of daily life in order to simply work.