We're about to hang Stephanie Pui-Mun Law's wonderful "Immortal Ephemera" show today, and as I sit here at the crack of dawn, cup of coffee in my shaking, tired hand (after all, it is literally the crack of dawn), I'm reflecting on the concept of "when does the hard work turn to easy work?".
I think that when we've thrown ourselves into a task that requires everything we've got, we all hit that point when we wonder when we'll get that break. For Krab Jab Studio, I always sort of fantasize that summertime will allow me to slow down a little bit. After all, for the second time this year we have a two month show ("I'll Read You a Story" children's picture book show starts in July) and this year I have an assistant, Kathryn, whose been busily snapping our operations together and turning us into a well oiled machine. We're getting more press now, which is a huge blessing. And sales seem to get better quarter to quarter of the fiscal year. So I should be able to kick back and put up my feet.
But I know I won't.
For example, I just wrote up an article for the blog Muddy Colors based on my workshop at this year's Spectrum Fantastic Art Live convention, called "Demystifying the Gallery World". The intention of the article was to elaborate on the bullet points of my lecture (which is available here as well as on our YouTube channel). In my Muddy Colors article, I tacked in a segment called "Finding a Gallery" which wasn't in my lecture but I get a lot of questions about. From there, I concocted a nearly 3k word article, of which I wasn't even halfway through the lecture segments. Clearly this was a two-part article; therefore, I will have to write the second part and turn that in for publication at a later date. Lord knows how long THAT segment is going to be!
Prior to Kathryn coming on board, I was behind in everything, me being only one person and all, running a business on my own. One of our priorities is getting caught up and back on track, whether its editing and releasing older Artist Talks to our YouTube channel, cleaning out our storage, or organizing our back room. We've made huge headway but I know we've got much more to do, much of it on my own head, like cleaning up my messy accounting books (we keep good records but I am living in piles of paper).
Meanwhile, I'm working on curatorial projects outside of our normal show schedule. I work with the crew that runs the Mythic Worlds convention, creating a space within the convention that embodies the heart of what the convention is all about. I'm working on travelling our fantastic "Lennon" show, which just ended this early June but needs to be seen by many more eyes. I have a few more irons in the fire I can't really speak about yet, but will take a good chunk of my energy.
Then there's my home life, which is just as busy. Family weddings are coming up, house needs to be repainted, backyard has a couple of projects, and I have a couple of trips to plan. House is always in need of cleaning and organizing, and our two Boxers need entertainment and exercising on a regular basis. I have my own artwork to make, mostly consisting of finishing a few large paintings which will likely take me all summer. I have an overdue commission to complete.
In all, I know that the hard work won't end. Really, it never does, especially when you're working in a field you really enjoy. It turns into an attitude thing: "hard work" doesn't mean "tiring, unsatisfying work". My plate is full, but it's full of yummy, juicy stuff. Granted there are some dull, not-fun things on my list, but when you run your own business there's always a few things you're not crazy about doing. You just dig in and do them. I am rewarded with a sprinkling of easy days, and when I get one, trust me, I really savor it. But it's okay if the entire summer isn't one big fun vacation. I'd probably get bored anyway. There's only so much sitting around I can do before I get antsy.
-Julie Baroh, June 2015