Parenting and Art Practice

Parenting while trying to establish or maintain a professional practice as an artist—in any medium—is a challenge. Artist Margaret Pezalla recently wrote a guest post one of the blogs of the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis about the challenges of maintaining an art career while parenting. The post is an interview with two other women artists who have—or are about to—juggle this kind of lifestyle.

The post, titled Raising Creative Moms hits on a lot of issues that I feel and/or observe as an artist/parent. It’s also a topic that I see very little discussion of, even less so where families like mine where both parents are artists.

The interview consists of excerpts from an email question-and-answer initiated by Pezella:

[Pezella] emailed questions about the art/life puzzle to two friends: Jessica Rath, a mother-to-be and LA-based artist with an upcoming exhibition at the Torrance Art Museum, and Beth Dow, parent of a twelve-year-old and a fourteen-year old, who recently had a solo exhibition at Franklin Art Works in Minneapolis.

Some of the subjects that the interview hits on include interactions with curators and childless artists, balancing time, and guilt about being unable to fully commit to either a studio practice or to parenthood.

I also find that as a male parent—and despite a couple of decades of feminist activism—my culturally-hardwired drive to be the breadwinner of the family creates yet another degree of tension. The question I’ve been trying to answer for years is whether work/family balance and a thriving art career are mutually exclusive.