The Art of Making a Living

"If you hear a voice within you saying ‘you are not a painter,’ then by all means, paint…
and that voice will be silenced."
--Vincent Van Gogh

Ah, to be a self-employed artist in America in 2006! That myth of Yankee entrepreneurialism, of pulling oneself up by the bootstraps a la WalMart while producing meaningful, gorgeous art and balancing a soft boiled egg on one’s nose…

I will tell you this in all honesty:
I did not come to this art-making life willingly or easily, not for me the elegance and simplicity of an MFA. No, I was dragged by my own soul, kicking and screaming. I chose this path because this is my bone --
a small part of my liveelihood, a large part of my life’s blood. I cannot not do it: without this work life would be dry, mute, bony and dusty.

I am not trying to sound dramatic here. It is that this work is juicy, relentless, alive.
An Asian pear to quench the thirst. And often, it has nothing to do with money. Sometimes it has everything to do with promotion, and bill- paying, feeding body rather than soul.
Still, I go to my studio while others do other things; I flee there to my raw and dusty refuge --– to ”work”,
sometimes just to sit and listen, thankful, speechless, even dumbfounded at the enormity of the creative act that sets us apart from chimps and starfish.

I began the Universe series exhibited in this show on the night I heard of a friend’s death from cancer. He’d snort at the notion of the art of making a living. Making a living was simply his life and his art, and he rose to that occasion with humor, spunk, and the wiliness of a coyote. I wish I could sit at his wise feet and ask: tell me again, about how there’s time for everything? About the satisfaction of doing any job, however humble, exceedingly well? The measure of happiness in the crunch of a tile in pliers?

If Ralph were still here, I’d treat him to ribs at some innocuous and spectacular place in a strip mall. We’d gnaw a bone or two, tip our glasses to the art of making a living.

- Cinder Hypki