I talked to my Mom today. She is the woman who taught me how to cook, who wove baskets, made doughnuts from scratch, and made my Junior prom dress based on my own design.
I spent a few minutes venting about my frustrations making a living as an artist. She changed the subject. I could sense her excitement because she told me for the fifth or sixth time about the purses she was making.
My response was, “Mom, you’re a project based artist.”
“Is that what it is? I must have inherited that from you.”
“I don’t think it works that way. I think I’m just doing what you do in a different context, the art world.”
Even with all my privileges: white, middle class, American, I still get frustrated that I wasn’t born into a family or into a community where being an artist was normal. There are many moments making my living this way feels like speaking a foreign language. Did I say that right? Did I understand that social cue? How do I negotiate this new challenge and still feel like I’m being myself and not some fabricated version of who I think I should be?
I took for granted that my mom created our day-to-day reality with her varied creations. Her creativity wove the fabric of our existence. Her commitment to constantly evolving herself spiritually and emotionally shaped who I am.
My mom was the original project based artist in my life.