Alaskan Artist - Elise Tomlinson
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06/03/2005: "Crisis or Opportunity?"

I just got an email from the director of the Juneau Arts and Humanities Council asking me if Id like to have an exhibit at Heritage for the month of July. The JAHC has just taken over managing the space and theyre looking to set up some new exhibits for the summer and she knew that my show in April had been cancelled at that I had a body of work ready to go. It seems like an excellent opportunity but there are some down sides too.

First of all, the work is far along but not finished. Id have a month to complete the pieces, which is plenty of time if I buckle downbut right now my schedule is filled with sailing and now kickboxing. I just asked my friend Jen what she thinks and shes basically told me she wont be my friend anymore if I take the show, because I get so obsessed and stressed out (and difficult to be around). I know Ive been a lot happier since I decided to put exhibiting on the back burner but

Im an artist damn it! This is what I doam I wrong?

Replies: 12 Comments

on Friday, June 3rd, Howard said

hmmmm, If you decide to take the show just say you'll be busy for a few weeks. I mean if you know what's going to happen just avoid each other till you get the show hung. It's only a month or so.

on Friday, June 3rd, Markus Barca said

Are you any less of an artist if you miss a chance to show your work?

on Friday, June 3rd, Elise said

Hey Howard, I think you're right, she'll understand...probably it's not so much that I'm a pain to be around (though it's that too) but also the fact I never have time to do anything. I already agreed to throw and big blow out party in two weeks...that might have to change now, see?

And Markus, that's a good question. I don't think I'd be less of an artist, I just mean, my instincts as an artist are very powerful. having a show with a deadline pushes me to finish things which can sometimes languish when I give myself all the time in the world. Plus, this show was supposed to be finished clear back in April. Once that deadline passed, did I finish it on my own steam? No. Having a show will force me to do that...and working consistently is the only way to move forward as an artist (in my opinion).

on Friday, June 3rd, holly said

Do you want to do the show?

on Friday, June 3rd, Elise said

I do and I don't, it would probably be the same as if you were asked to give a speach at a big presentation next'd probably be excited about doing it on one hand, but at the same time know that you'll have to work hard to prepare and give up a lot of your free time in order to do it.

But the short answer is yes, I want to do it.

There, I've said it.


on Friday, June 3rd, holly said

What is this "free time" of which you speak? :confused:

Look at it this way: you'll be giving up free time, but you'll be doing what you love. It's not like you're going to have to spend a month at a cataloging or reference tools seminar. And at the end of a month, you've done one more show, completed one more series, sold more paintings. You can't lose!

on Friday, June 3rd, Elise said

True true...I mean, I *love* to paint more than anything on earth but it's a solo activity and my friends get grumpy when I "go away" for too long. But hey, it will only be 4 weeks and I'll try to keep doing some social things so I don't 100% revert to the old me.

And I forgot that you have no free time...I guess...Ich bin dumm.

on Friday, June 3rd, Ty said

We are our biggest obstical.
I think your friends need to accsept you for the artist you are. Artist do art, what else do they want from you?
I'm sorry I'm being to blunt are'nt I?

on Friday, June 3rd, subi said

I think you should definitely do it... this opportunity will lead to more opportunities and who knows perhaps a grant? who is this Jenn? not be your friend if you take the show? are you sure she means this? and if so is she really a true friend? i personally love you for ALL that you are and the stressed/obsessed artist not oonly comes in the package of you, but a big part of you i appreciate and love! DO THE ShOW!

on Friday, June 3rd, Elise said

Hi Ty, aren't being too blunt...I agree with you actually.

And Subi, Jen is the friend in Juneau that I hang out with the most. I'm pretty sure she was serious when she said it, she seemed upset etc. but it was probably because it took her off gaurd as I had told her about my new years resolution not to exhibit for one year.

For her, me doing this show is probably the equivalent of the girlfriend who goes back to her shitty boyfriend and you get stuck having to hear about it all the time.

Later today I explained that I had made the one year committment, but at the time I had the show in April to finish. Since it was canceled, this is really just like finishing a previous committment (in a way) and I promised her that I wouldn't talk to her about the show *ever* and I plan to stick to that.

Anyway, thanks for your support Subi, I know you love me just as I am.
oh, and ditto!

on Sunday, June 5th, greg said

Elise, it sure looks like others have offered plenty to think about. I'm sure you'll do the right thing!

on Sunday, June 5th, Elise said

Yah, I actually emailed the person who asked me yesterday morning and told her that I'd do it. I haven't heard back from her yet, but I think it will all work out fine. And my friend has cooled off and doesn't seem as pissed anymore so that's good.