I have been creating performances and art in the Greater Boston area for almost 15 years now. From the city proper to Jamaica Plain, Cambridge, Somerville, Medford, and cities beyond. There is an amazing and rich source of artists and creators around our parts who constantly combine efforts and make things happen because of their drive to make, their drive to do. Spectacular events and visions issue forth from the minds and efforts of the artists I have met and worked with here. The taste of this city, more than any other one I have lived in; the work I see created around the Boston area is personal and gritty and takes risks. I want to talk here a bit about the reality of an artist sustaining their career.
Often we are paid very little or nothing for our efforts, often we invest heavily into making the work as well - it is not an easy life, the one of the consummate creator! We have day jobs, and the responsibilities of living in community, and rehearsals, classes, costume/prop/set construction, it takes time to choreograph, write material, learn lines, plan tech, and produce... And that can take a toll.
Like any occupation, being paid below your worth can over time disintegrate your feelings of worth. But unlike many occupations, art comes from the self. It is a reflection of the artist's point of view as a human being, an exterior conversation with the world about what happens in the brain and heart; what the body wants to express. It is very personal. Feelings of worthlessness as an artist can translate to feelings of failure as a human being.
Artistry is a conversation with the self. Artistic impulse is a relationship; it needs to be nurtured, disciplined, worked on, and to evolve to survive. Over time we get better; we say more clearly what we intend, we find more worth and confidence in our work, in our ability to create at all, we become artists who can support ourselves on more than one level.
I work as a puppeteer, dancer, character actor, mask performer, writer, burlesquer, drag performer, director, and whatever else comes my way. I piece together my life in a way that supports my ability to create something each day, and to perform new works constantly. My relationship with my muse - my inner artistic voice - is one I work on every day, and over time I am getting better, stronger, more convinced that there is no other path I could follow and be happy.
I want to share my experiences and methods with other creative people, and I want to live a life supported from my creative works. This is a major reason why I am offering two classes this summer:
"Finding Your Artistic Process: A Course in Creativity" (taking place in Union Sq, Somerville at Third Life Studios!) and
Both of these classes serve to help the workshop participant find their own voice in their creations, but they explore the material differently. The Artistic Process series is more of a paractice and tool-based approach to your relationship with the muse (all mediums welcome), where the Drag King series will step everyone through creating a unique character and their own performance piece (a bit more specific). Both workshops center around the question: "What do I have to say to the world?". Through our 6 weeks of exploration, we find ourselves with one (or 6 or 20) of the answers to that question. More importantly though, we leave with a sense that we know how to ask it again and again with the confidence that answering it makes our lives and the lives of our audience - our community - a better place.
Vive la Liberté dans l'Art,