The artist’s life

My mom and I used to talk a lot about our lives as artists. She started painting in 2002, I left for college in 2003. We talked about things we were working on, giving feedback, talking about process. How to price things, how to make time for both the business part and the making art part. How to make a living while also having time for family. We had similar goals: we didn’t care about being famous, just to make enough money so we could live and keep making art. We didn’t like Art World. Family came first but also family and art were not separate. It was about living our lives– our lives which were the best art of all.

There isn’t another artist or writer I connect to in the same way. No one I can really have those conversations with. I miss my best art friend, my best inspiration, my favorite conversationalist. 

We were part of each other’s art too. I made comics about her and she painted me. I started posing for paintings very early on in my mom’s career, and found I was good at it. Modeling was meditative for me. I modeled for her, for her artist friends, even for some life drawings groups. But it was my mom who painted me the most, and for her that I most enjoyed the process of sitting and being painted. We’d talk, but not too much. We’d come up with poses together, get inspired in museums or from life. I felt myself being seen by her, being documented. It was a powerful thing happening between us, active and energetic. There was understanding in a non-verbal way: how my arm should be, the story of that dress or those pajamas, breathing and holding still. 

I don’t model anymore since she died. It’s too hard, it feels off. It isn’t for me what it was before. 

There’s a void. Well of course there is but I mean a specific hole having to do with art. There are a lot of artists here but no one for me to talk to about how we make this life, how deeply the things I make and draw and write are connected to the family I want to create and the love I feel. It all comes out of that love. That’s how I know I can be a happy artist. That’s how I know I can do this. Because my mom taught me. 

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