Greetings to all the people that are reading this post. First and foremost, thank you. I don’t know if my opinions are actually valid in the world but for the last few years, I have been lead to believe they are. I have been lead to believe that am talented and powerful and necessary in the world. For the last few years I believed that because I could cope through any trauma, that I was okay.
Then one day a friend that I often collaborate with artistically asked to speak with me. Lots of things were said. I walked out because my emotions were spiling over. I couldn’t resond because I was too busy reacting. In the process of reacting I wrote this facebook post . I attempted to articulate my reaction as an answer to one of the many questions asked in our brief talk. I didn’t think that I was speaking on them specifically because its an issue i’ve been thinking about in the sense of our larger community for a while now. How can independent artists help the community grow into it’s own industry outside of corporate sponsorship? Can indie artists truly become self sustainable corporation themselves? I don’t know… I’m not even sure if my questions make any type of sense. What I do know is the culture is changing society. That every single project and collective I have participated in over the last 8 years has had a monumental impact on me and my artistry.
I don’t think that many people realize how intentional my life is. Over time I’ve been making and sticking by choices to break away from capitalism as much as possible. A few years ago I narrowed down the fields I was willing to work in. and the universe provides me employent in those areas when i seek a job. I stopped shopping at big box and brand name stores/labes 8 years ago after the birth of my daughter. I do, however, accept hand-me-downs from friends and family. Most times, they happen to be people that do still shop designer over everything. So when you see me rocking some Chanel winter boots or a Dooney & Burke clutch, know I most likely didn’t buy it. If I did buy it, it certainly was at a thrift store.. Like that gorgeous pink silk Valentino suit I found at a thrift store in Clinton-Hills (for $45) on my 30th birthday. My point being, I choose what I buy and support consciously.
During this previous summer, I was illegally evicted from my home. All of my belongings were thrown out as if they were trash. All of my things, included but not limited to my clothing, laptops, suitcases, clothing, books, materials, jewelry inventory, upcoming visual exhibition, etc. So I took a pause in Virginia for a month and came back replenished and prepared to fight life for everything i Know I am meant to manifest. I got a job. For a few months it ws gravy till it wasn’t and i got fired. Then I got hired, And then fired. And then hired, and fired. and…. you get the idea for 4 more rounds of fun. One day I look up and it’s mid-October and I’m walking from the A train to visit with my dad for a moment. When I exit the elvator, his door is perched open. I walk in to find him hujnched over his comouter synthesizing a beat for his client. My presence derails his train of thought and he stops, staring at me intensely. Asks “how long will you be here today?”. I throw a random number at him and he finds something else to think about now that his concentration has been broken. I spend the next 4 hours beginning a piece of jewelry that tranforms into an epiphany: Why am I not doing more?
When I began pursuing art, I was everywhere, into everything. Now I’m noticing that with the passage of time and certain experiences, I have become lazy. I have slacked on doing all the work it takes for an independent artist to be a successful small business. I haven’t been doing enough since having a home base. I lost my apartmet because the universe recognized that I was losing touch with my ambition. The reality that if I’m serious about this #artlife then I need to get back on my hardbody hustle. So what if my laptop is goe, I gotta find a way to rewrite these book drafts. I gotta take whatever I earn busking and buy more materials to make more jewelry. I have to invest into adverstising. I need to finish setting up my patreon, artery, and gigsalad pages. I need to be sending out my EPK 15 times a day. I need to complete grant proposals. Continue applying for residencies. I need to return to seeking the resources that will allow me to advance in my career as an artist. I haven’t done it myself in a while because I was confident in my assistants, but they are not me. And they were always doing a million things at once. SO I’m doing it myself. I’m taking thise same 20 hours I would spend on a job everyday and using t to apply the knowledge I have to build Joilery and J TheGodIS brands into what I know they can be. And while I’m still sending out resumes, I’m not so pressed for work that I’m stressing not having a job. I’m also not letting others stress or pressure me to give up my pursuits in order to steal time from them.
That thought led me to another one: even artists don’t take art as a serious job. Perhaps we don’t realize that this thing we do is an actual business. That it takes hours of work outside of the hours of rehearsals, or hours of creating. This life, when taken seriously, doesn’t have to be a constant hustle where we are always struggling. This life can be cover girl; easy, breezy, and beautiful if and wen we put the proper energy into it. I’m not knocking any artist with a day job. By no means. I will say though, that if that day job ain’t in line with what you know is your true purpose, it’s probably making you miserable. I don’t have that poblem anymore. Because my job is serving my long term goals of creating a legacy for my children. showing them that a person, specifically black people like us, can exist outside of corporate hedgemony. We the community have the power when we redirect our dollars and energy into each other.
At this point it doesn’t matter what I have been doing or what i think because now all I got is myself and my art in this world. By no means do I hope you feel any sorrow or pity for me. I am just fine. I fully comprehending all the decisions I am making in pursuit of a larger goal. What i do hope you feel is inspired and excited to continue changing the world with me. I hope someone reads this and realizes that I BEEN #boutthislife . That everything I wanted to be is what we are. I am an artist, through and through, I learn from everything. I make mistakes, try to do better on the next go round. I’m constantly questioning and learning the world around me. Im always aware that what we do matters. So I’m taking it seriously and doing what I need to do to achieve the goal. I’m knowing that I made the right decision. And I’m hoping I can still worth with people instead of for people. Because together, I believe, we will change the world.