However, I was raised by hippies. Awesome artsy musicky hippies. My dad would later apply his scary-smart brain to computer engineering and IT and a basement jungle of wires and motherboards, but in college he majored in Music Theory with a minor in Looking Like a Kind, Sane, and Gentle Charles Manson. Mom specialized in pursuing a Special Education degree while hanging out in the Davis Fine Art building at WVSU, which was then WVSC. She wrote poetry that stirs the soul and taught me that I wasn't crazy, I was a writer. They were really, really supportive of my visual art and writing. I grew up with friends who bolstered that support and I'm so grateful for that. It's vulnerable and frightening to do creative work.
The art ego is legendary, but it's not because we just like attention and praise. Artists crave support because we are all scared, imaginative little kids who have epic nightmares and make very personal things that are valued subjectively. If your work is valued objectively- in dollars and profit margins or load bearing walls and right angles, your work is a definable, tangible product. Your skill and craftsmanship are measurable and quantifiable. Directly useful, and maybe necessary. The product of art, when there is one, is a thing of emotion and psychology and mystical, soulful mojo. There is no standard method of judgment or appraisal. Beyond that mix of mysterious elements is the tendency that powerful art is more novel, controversial, or radical and that compounds the stress on the artist. It'll never be easy to publish a post or submit a poem or exhibit paintings, but with a supportive push, it's possible.
I've had an embarrassment of riches in creative support. Of course there have been a few requests from grandmas or mothers-in-law to please start painting my primal goddesses wearing clothing and an occasional friend-of-a-friend who'd rather not look at skulls or bloody human hearts. Possibly a phobic husband secretly hoping that I won't revisit my mutilated babydoll period. But I'm able to laugh at that and keep going, because I've got a strong enough foundation. I have friends who feed me when I do a blogging marathon, come get Molly when I need to focus, and come out in pouring rain to see my shows. I have friends who drag me out of an exhausted new mom slump to design magazine covers and give me stern mom glares when I need to revamp my Etsy shop. I have friends right now planning to chip in and buy me tattoo equipment because they want my art on their skin. I just need to yell THANK YOU really loudly today.
I want to group hug the whole internet and kiss your cheeks. I want to get drunk and cry a little bit with you. I want you to know that without you it's all messy with the drugs and the dead and the crazy. And I love you.
Digital "sketch" from a tabled project I'll get around to finishing or not.