public service announcement

Misty’s Public Service Announcement in support of artists, women and everyone who works hard and is misunderstood.

"Bravely Done" by Misty Oliver-Foster
“Bravely Done” by Misty Oliver-Foster

I am an artist.  Most people really don’t understand what I do or what that means.  I realize that “art” is an extremely complicated concept, and I don’t expect people to get it.  I am an artist, went to art school and surround myself with artsy things every day, and even I don’t get it some of the time.  And I really think those that act like they get it all of the time are just trying to impress someone.  (After all, A BFA really is just a degree in BS).

I am an artist.  I make things.  I create things.  I conceptualize things.  Out of nothing.   I think all of the time, even when my hands are idle or I’m supposed to be sleeping.  I feel like I could never live long enough to create all of the things in my head.  I make things to see. I make things to feel.  I make things to share.  I make things to express.   I make things and then hide them under other things, behind layers of paint, paper and wax.  All of my insides are out, at once exposed and hidden.

Yes.  I do sell my art (the Art Gods gasp at the blasphemy!).  On the outset it is made from within, but in the end, many pieces are sold.  You, too, can own a piece of my soul.

I began working as a teen to make money – babysitter, short-order cook, server, ice cream dipper, video renter, snowcone maker.  I’m glad I learned how to work hard at an early age.  I am blessed that I had help from my parents to go to college.  I know that.

I made art in college.  I worked in college.  I graduated.  I got a job.  I got married.  I made some art on the side.  I learned to be a teacher.  I taught art.  I learned to be a better artist.  I practiced.  I showed my work.  I made more art.  I showed more art.  I made art for others. I made art for me.  I made art I hated.  I made art I loved.  I made more art.

And I worked.  Hard.

I started a business.  I learned a lot.  I created a lot.  I crammed a warehouse full of supplies and equipment into a 9 x 10’ bedroom, and I went to work!  Every day, even on the weekends sometimes. I’ve loaded down my van to the roof and dragged so much crap all over this state (and several others).  It’s hard, dirty, unglamorous work.  But I don’t give up.

I keep making art.  I keep showing my art.  I keep growing as an artist.  I keep trying.  I keep working.

I am fortunate to have a studio in my back yard, and I go there almost every single day.  Yes, I’m fortunate, but I’ve also worked very, very hard to attain the studio.  No one bought it for me.  I earned it myself.  I pay for it and its contents myself.  So don’t look at my studio and ask me “What does your husband do?”  That’s irrelevant.

I have children.  I work hard to be there when they need me.  Sometimes I’m more available than others.  Sometimes I take extra jobs to help get us by.  Sometimes I make good money.  Sometimes I don’t make as much. But I work hard.  Every minute of the day.

And, to answer one man’s question, no, I don’t  “get bored being at home all day.”

It’s hard to get bored when you’re the CEO, COO, Owner, President, Creative Director, Marketing Director, Quality Control, Web Designer, Social Media Coordinator, and Production Manager of your own company.

No one taught me how to work as an artist.  They don’t teach that in college (that’s a whole other rant).  I figured it out.  I’m still figuring it out.  It’s probably the most ridiculously impossible thing to do in the world.  But I’m doing it.  Every day.

So here’s the PSA:  If you meet a woman that says she is an artist, do NOT assume that she is a kept woman.  Do NOT assume that it’s just a hobby for her.  Do NOT assume that her husband is the “breadwinner” or that she relies upon him to support her work.  Assume that she is the hardest working person you’ve met, and you’ll probably be right.  And one day, when you see her work recognized by others, you will know that she wasn’t just an overnight success.