Sara Campos - take a vacation
When I think about the question of how to start as an artist without the institution, is almost like the question is: how to overcome stress and keep yourself positive and active. This question has been asked to me all the time and I feel rather lonely when it is asked. The image that comes to my mind is, filling up applications while I need to have a side job to pay for my living costs and ruffly pay for a studio. So it becomes this image of the miserable lonely artist, with all these things to do at the same time, being swollen up by stress and overcoming the chances of failure. I would like to change this image a little bit.
Often it is said that artists never have a vacation. Or if they do, the thought of making work and seeing new opportunities to make something is always present wherever the artist goes. Even though this saying has a somewhat admirable tone to it and is partially true, it can also have huge downfalls when you don't take time to contemplate and reflect on the work you have been doing. The rush and pressure of making work can become a constant mechanistic flow and provoke a serious gap between the individual development of the artist and the way society is perceived.
The first thing I did after finishing my studies was to take a vacation and take some time off in nature. Without talking about art and being immersed in the setting, i had time to remember the fun of making art in the first place without having to fear a "black hole" or entering the world as a terrible leap and dreadful experience. In this sense, the idea that artists don't have vacation can be very unproductive. It is almost like artists are not supposed to relax. As long as the life of the artist is perceived as miserable, the motivation to act will always go down the hill. I think it's important to find time to contemplate, to wonder and remember the joy of making before being pushed into the tormenting multi tasking of side jobs, writing applications, proposals and still gain enough focus to make work.
Just before I finished the masters, I thought I wouldn't be able to finish the applications on time because i didn't even own a proper computer and without basic financial support, you spend more time doing jobs you don't like, instead of focusing on developing your own work. This seems to be the most common situation for artists that have to be switching around activities in order to push something forward. Although, I don't find anything negative about writing proposals or applications. I think of them as a preparation, a practice of the work itself. The bottom line is, whether or not you get the subsidies, or recognition and invitations for projects, you need to think of alternatives to create conditions to work and have a gigantic will to keep going. And changing this image of the miserable artist, also starts by avoiding being isolated and meeting other fellow artists. It is as much important to realise this as it is to realise that stability doesn't last.