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Tuesday, March 15, 2005

The Employment of an Artist

The landlord decided we could not hold onto the house so we would immediately seek another tenant and/or put it on the market for sale. This did not make me happy. Either way, last weekend it was all over. I had lost the house and I would be traveling home in a few weeks. So I picked up a paintbrush.

Painting and Passion

And I painted twelve solid hours through the night, and then I passionately explained I had no intention of leaving the house or the city.

Selling Your soul

Suitably fired I did the interview of my life and sold my soul to pull off something I thought would work. I made many proposals and not all of them legal but it worked. This prospective employer made an offer to my erstwhile sponsors.

Desperate Measures for Desperate Times

It was a ridiculous offer. He wasn't even sure if he meant it, so I gave him 24 hours to be sure if he meant it, either straightforwardly or not. (Not straightforwardly involved me working until the fall without pay - to keep things moderately legal). He concurred. 24 hours later he hadn't decided. I steered 3-way negotiations until the sponsors met all demands. The deal was done. They even took me out for a burger to make up for the $25,000 they have cost me. They said sorry. The burger tasted good.

How To Make Money Out of Somebody Else

Days later my prospective employer had second thoughts. Being a small business he wasn't sure how he could make any money out of me immediately. Valid concerns but five weeks after the initial interview, which he solicited, perhaps late in the day for such thoughts. Made a note to self that if ever in a position to hire anybody, never to do so without first thinking if there is any purpose to doing so.

Deciding Whether To Employ an Artist

I wasn't sleeping much. The contract was at his attorney's and he would tell me the next day when he thought some more. The phone didn't ring the next day. I didn't paint the next day. Ominous. Unable to face any galleries I went to a party none the wiser. Good party.

When is an Artist not an Artist?

A day later he called. Unless his attorney finds something extremely bizarre that they can't iron out he is ready to sign with my sponsors on the agreed terms. It is looking like I shall go to the ball after all. I will however be wearing a dirty dress. To achieve this state of affairs I waived both the originally tendered part-time position and working from home option – both offered to facilitate my painting. I waived employment benefits. I offered to pay legal fees. I offered up my relocation allowance. I agreed to not do the supposed artistic work I was originally solicited for. As I was selling out, I went ahead and committed to the new firm long term.

Soul Sold

It means six years. Not to give up the job and paint - the whole point of coming to this city.

Free Will

So now I get congratulated. I feel dirty. Confused. As happy as any man who had a gun to his head but the trigger wasn't pulled. Only it wasn't pulled because I promised to do some things I really don't want to do. And I really didn't ever want to do them. I think I even gave up the right to complain. On top of all this it would seem I also happen to like a girl and worse still she probably likes me. Painting is suffering all 'round.

Sign Here

The week ahead will confirm or deny the signatures on all the respective contracts. And very soon I will be very well off and very unhappy. But if I didn't care about painting I would probably be delirious. So a guarded welcome is grudgingly acknowledged for the current state of affairs.

The road Ahead is Paved with Broken Tiles and Money

For now I have a mosaic table to plan as well as a couple of commissions to paint.

Paul Dorrell gives guidance:

The object is to avoid taking a job you hate. You should also take a job that, if it doesn't complement your passions, should at least leave the art side of your brain undisturbed, so that each day as you work, your talent is working also, subconsciously building up to the hour when you get off work, go gome, and do the stuff that counts.


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