One of my favorite blogs, Artists Who Thrive, written by artist and arts marketing coach extraordinaire Ann Rea, dedicated a post to this quote by Rev. Ike awhile back. I am not stealing her thunder (like I could). I am taking it in my own direction.
As I posted yesterday, I came back from the BlogPaws 2012 Conference a changed person. Changed in regards to valuing my work in the marketplace and changed in valuing myself as someone who can influence others to change.
Change is a turbulent process, though, and I won’t pretend for a moment that I am where I need to be.
I do curse the rich, and consequently, I am far from being one of them.
That is a problem, as an artist, because only people with expendable income can purchase my work for what it is truly worth. The very people I curse are the ones who are most likely to purchase my work.
My art has great value. I know that. I also know that it has greater value than its current prices. But my hang-ups about money, and those who have it, impede my success in a major way.
I was raised in a very middle class family by parents who were not skilled or responsible with managing money. My brother, a mathematical genius, overcame that on his own. He lives comfortably as a computer systems programmer with a nice income. My sister overcame it by marrying a man who is very gifted at managing budgets.
Me? I am no mathematical genius and I have never married, so I have lived out the family legacy.
One thing I am, good at, though, is connecting with people who are gifted in the arena of monetizing your talents. They cannot, and will not sit by my side and help me untangle the mess of my checking account. But they will motivate me to confront the mind-tangle that keeps me stuck when it comes to money issues.
Here is my mind tangle.
I have lived and worked among the financially poorest people in the country. I have watched them struggle and pour their strength into work to feed their children and provide them shelter. Although not necessarily gifted with great intelligence or talents valued in the marketplace, they have heart and skill. I have watched these people sacrifice and scrimp, only to become victims of corporate magnates who have no concern for their plights.
That is why I curse the rich.
I do not curse those who have earned wealth through hard work and responsible sharing of their talents. I do curse those who have unjustly gained wealth from taking advantage of others. And I certainly want to avoid becoming one of the latter.
I do not necessarily desire to be what most of us think of as “rich”, but I would like to have a more comfortable lifestyle than I currently have. More than that, I would like to achieve real success as a professional artist.
I confess, I have no clear formula for determining whose wealth is legitimate and whose wealth is ill-gotten. So I make assumptions that all are the latter. It’s not fair, and I know it. But that is where my mind is focused -currently.
How do I get around that? I am not sure.
I am sure about this, though. I am going to let Lena West kick me in the butt and figure it out.