A Recovery Blog

This blog is about my continuing recovery from severe mental illness. I celebrate this recovery by continuing to write, by sharing my music and artwork and by exploring Buddhist ideas and concepts. I claim that the yin/yang symbol is representative of all of us because I have found that even in the midst of acute psychosis there is still sense, method and even a kind of balance. We are more resilient than we think. We can cross beyond the edge of the sane world and return to tell the tale. A deeper kind of balance takes hold when we get honest, when we reach out for help, when we tell our stories.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Artid


On Friday I bought some art supplies and a magazine called American Artist Watercolor Highlights. I grabbed it at the last minute only realizing later that it cost a whopping $9. Turns out it was worth it, not only because the magazine had some interesting articles, but because it led me to an online site called artid (pronounced art-eye-dee). Artid.com is a marketplace for all kinds of artists, most especially painters. You can display photographs of your work in galleries, six images to a gallery and if you choose, you can offer to sell the works represented via Paypal or eBay. It’s inexpensive and very convenient. Included in the package is a personal blog and here’s where I get stuck: do I reveal that I suffer from schizophrenia to the people at that site and potential customers?

I’ve been revealing myself here since November of 2006, but not with my full name and not with my family or neighbors reading it. That’s the difference. This space, because it is only visited by a few people, is my public private space, but artid is a public space. I have to get used to that difference.

The prices for individual works of art range anywhere from under $200 to over $2000. I put the Ronda paintings up for sale for $20 each (no matt, no frame). I mean, I’m just starting out and my confidence level in my work is not that high yet, but it shouldn’t be, I’ve only been back to painting for a month or so. But it is fun looking at other artists’ work. There’s quite a variety in styles and techniques and price, too. I have a lot of exploring to do.

What I haven’t been doing enough of is drawing/painting. I asked Pam to email me a photograph of herself, which she did, and I just can’t capture her face yet. I’ve tried 3 times. Then I discovered artid and spent my time checking that out, then my brother came over for the day and night to use my computer (his is unfixable right now and he needs a new one). I felt self-conscious working in front of him, though I did manage to do a small, simple painting of my Nana (my mother’s mother, gone for quite a while now). I have to keep reminding myself that it is the process that is most valuable and not the product. And that’s really true when I think about it. I mean I like looking at work I’ve completed fairly successfully, but not for too long. I need to move forward.

Quite a while ago I painted a self portrait on a 32” x 28” canvas. I responded to it only moderately and so I decided to cover it up with primer and start over again. That’s what I did. Now I’m trying to figure out what to paint. It’s an awkward size, somewhere between a square and a rectangle. I’d like to just do some painted studies on it and not worry about it becoming a finished painting.

(Next day...) I just saw my therapist. I told her about artid and asked her advice on whether or not I should reveal that I suffer from schizophrenia. She said definitely not. She said I should separate my private life from my professional life. But I don’t know how to do that. I’ve never had a professional life and I’ve been ill one way or another for quite a while now. A part of me wants to take on stigma by being upfront about my illness, but I can’t really do that until I’ve become successful at something. Right now, I’m just starting out. It’s weird though, I feel like not being upfront about my illness is somehow a form of lying. I doesn’t quite sit well with me. Or is it I don’t know how to have an identity apart from seeing myself as mentally ill?

The other issue is that my friend Richard is really helping me out. He’s trying to start a photo business and he’s also found a website to display and sell his work. He’s said he’d be happy to refer some of his customers to me by having a link to me on his website. That plus he’s willing to convince the parents of his soccer team to buy my portraits. Now, would me revealing that I suffer from schizophrenia put him in a difficult position? Now, that would stop me because I do not want to hurt him or his chances in any way. He’s been very good to me and my brother for over 20 years.

Well, it looks like I won’t be writing about art and schizophrenia except here and I guess that’s okay. I just have to give this being a professional thing a chance and see what happens.

I got my P.O. Box today, so I can finally have business cards made up. Now I have to photograph my artwork and upload the pictures to artid. I’ve uploaded only 7 images so far. I also need to start picking out work to matt. I have to remember that building a business takes time and not get discouraged when I don’t get done all that I want to get done.


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