Thursday, November 15, 2012

Doing the Things You Love

"You will never be any good unless you are doing it full time," is what artist George Rhoads told me.

George Rhoads is a kinetic sculptor. and you can see his installations worldwide. He is a successful artist. By chance, he had bought the house my Dad used to live in in Ithaca. My Dad and George struck up a friendship.

I was working full-time in a "real" job when I got invited to dinner and met Mr. Rhoads. This was sometime in the 1990s. He was right about me taking the plunge and working as an artist all day, every day.

... And, of course, that meant a true act of bravery. Like you read about or see in the movies; saying goodbye to regular paycheck, not to mention having to figure out health coverage. And there's no guarantee of any level of success.

Let's flash forward to now --

My friend Jeff Pert writes about quitting his real world job in May 2012 to work full-time on cartooning. Six months on, he writes about his experience, and his decision to go back to his 9 to 5 career:

"I wish I could say my cartooning business soared and I'm flying high, but that hasn't been the case. I still feel I made the right decision and don't regret it. But the reality is I'm looking for work to make ends meet...and when I say 'work' I mean out in the 9-to-5 world. I have a temp job lined up beginning next week which should take me through early February. That's great, as the winter is always the tightest time cartoon income-wise. Hey, the bills need to be paid."

I've always thought Jeff is a terrific cartoonist and I wish him all the best. Making a living is hard enough -- as an artist, cartoonist or writer it's a daunting feat. It is an act of bravery to uproot your life and make the leap -- and braver still to share what happened.

The important thing is that he'll still be doing those things he loves: writing and drawing cartoons.

May the wind be at your back ...

1 comment:

Brian Fies said...

Nice, thoughtful essays by both you and Jeff. Boy, it's a tough question. You need to have faith in yourself but at the same time realize success isn't entirely in your own hands and you don't want to do something stupid. I'm self-employed by accident--an opportunity opened that I probably never would have had the guts to create myself--so I have more flexibility than most, but would still chuck that career in a second if I thought I could make comics full time. Kids, spouse, mortgage, car payments, real responsibilities and obligations: big risks are a young person's game but, on the other hand, what are you waiting for?