Wednesday, July 10, 2013

What is it like to be an artist?

"What is it like to be an artist for a living?"

I get asked this all the time and I'm not going to lie... it's pretty amazing to be a full-time artist. It's a lot of hard work, but it's work that I love doing.

This week, for example, is a pretty typical week. On Sunday (oh yes, I work every Sunday), we started the week with attending the Mueller Farmer's Market, where we sold lots of my adorable tote bags, tees and a handful of other fun items. In the 95+ degree heat, the market is a ton of hard work, but I have the most amazing and supportive husband who sticks it out by my side. After the market, we spent the evening together catching up on a couple of T.V. shows (Dexter!) and just having some family time. 

Monday morning, I was up bright and early to go downtown to my Co-op (Austin Artist's Screen Printing Co-Op) to print some Tote and Tee orders as well as add some more tote designs in for this coming weekend's market. Screen printing takes most of my morning, but that doesn't stop me from taking the pups out for a walk. I spent Monday evening putting the final touches on Marty and Eddie's portrait as well as starting the sketch for the next piece in line and a second coat of paint on a current order. 

Tuesday is almost always an art studio day, where I spend the day painting and sketching. I try to have a minimum of 6 hours painting in the morning and will come back to painting around 10pm to try to finish up the pieces that I started in the morning-time. I usually finish painting around 1am and head to bed. 

Today, I spent the morning at the Williamson County Regional Shelter, photographing the kitties. I dedicate at least one day a week to volunteer time. It may not pay with money, but the kitty love certainly takes the place of a paycheck! The shelter staff is pretty wonderful and I truly enjoy my time up at the shelter. 

Thursday this week will be my 'free day' to catch up on cleaning my house - I usually wash all of my dogs blankets and beds and clean my office. I also will do about 6 hours of sketching and painting on my 'free day' depending on how many portraits I have in line. This week, I have several paintings waiting to be finished, so my goal is to complete at least 2 paintings by Friday, which means lots of Studio time! 

Friday morning, I have scheduled more time at the Co-Op to print a few more orders as well as add a few more Totes and Tees into my inventory for this weekend's Farmer's Market. I should be at the Co-Op for about 8 hours, after which we will be attending Love-A-Bull's 5th Anniversary Gala (very exciting!). This Gala is special, not only because I adore Love-A-Bull, but because I designed the special edition wine/pint glass that will be featured! 

Saturday, I fully plan to sleep in. I also give Saturday to myself as a 'free day' to spend with my husband. We usually have a lunch date and catch up on some errands. We are both very business-minded, so depending on the week and how busy we each are, we both typically find some work time for about 4 hours on Saturday. I plan to spend this Saturday getting ready for Sunday's Market, which includes packing up my car and deciding a layout for my booth space. I will catch up on planning a bit of Marketing for the week and overall just make sure things are organized and that I have caught up on the 'behind the scenes' pieces of the business. In a couple of months, my Saturday's will once again be filled with Pet Adoption drives and more volunteer work - but during the hot summer months, we take a break from the adoption events.

Sunday, we start the cycle over again with the Farmer's Market! Of course, this doesn't include all of the other little things I spend time on. Every morning, I start production on any necklace orders as well as packing up orders from the previous day to ship out. Currently we have a wonderful foster mom and her adopted kitten, who get plenty of attention during my breaks. I also want to ensure that each of my own 4 pets get all the love they can handle! Being an artist (well, a successful artist) is much more than simply painting - although I would love to just paint! It may seem like I am too busy or chaotic from time to time, but I adore my job and my busy schedule and wouldn't have it any other way!

Stephanie Conrad
Pet Studio Art | Owner | Artist

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