In the last post, I mentioned that certain words had destroyed me. This is not true. I’m alive and have never been destroyed. What I have been is pieced together by the ideas of others— and I was the glue that put it all together, until I ran out of glue.
I’ve painted since I was a kid. In my early 20s, I accepted a dare to paint onstage with a band. Turns out, I was great at painting under pressure with time constraints and I was entertaining— people liked me. I found myself touring as a member of a band, painting onstage with popular music artists. People bribed security guards to get backstage to buy my paintings. I became popular enough to appear on the worst dressed list in a tabloid. There was hardly a contract. My “success” was more of a miracle than it was a career, but as a young, single mom with god issues (that we’ll save for a future blog post), I was excessively grateful to have a job. I didn’t get paid for much of my work. When I did get paid, I didn’t know I deserved it. I thought I was being blessed.
Then came the years and the words: You’re talented, you should… You have connections, you should… You’re not commercial enough, you should… You’re so commercial, you should… You shouldn’t wear that… You should wear this… Baby, stop painting… Your paintings are better when you stop twenty minutes in… Yes, if you stopped painting earlier, you could show in galleries… No, galleries aren’t looking for that… Just make art for the holidays and sell it online… Art is a fifty billion dollar industry, you know… You should give your work away… You’re so sexy, you should set up your canvas in my bedroom… If you don’t donate your painting, we’re cutting you from the show… You want to be paid? Like the other performers? Welp. You can sell shoes now or you can sell shoes later… By the way, you’re hot. You should dress like it... You’re smarter than you pretend to be… Oh, and I own your copyrights…
Back to the glue: What is glue?
Photo: Me, in performance. Photo by artist, Jessica Bleu @bleu.ink