I’ve been toying with different economic and social paradigms for a while now. I have great loves and life long friends not girlfriends. I have friends, family, and community, and not a hierarchy of business associates and acquaintances, I have new friends to know, understand, and cherish not collectors and clients. I give away and trade more work than I actually sell, which has been the case for the last four years. Within the dynamic and subtle processes I’ve gone through in the last year — primarily giving up on the dream I had been nurturing for the previous eight — I’ve drastically changed my perspective in how I value the work i do. I’ve stopped referring to what i do as a career, but rather a calling. What I have is a gift, and gifts inherently are meant to be shared and treasured. if I could I’d just give away everything that I create. All I ask is to still have my basic needs met. The older I get the more humble those needs become. As an artist, my connection to my work is predominantly just when I’m making it. I’ve always had the intention of creating treasures and objects of subtle beauty, to bring beauty and joy into someone else’s life… everyday. I find it appalling that the biggest limitations to sharing my gifts with someone else is contingent on whether they can afford it.
I feel that fundamentally an hour of my time spent present and in intention carries the same value as an hour of anyone else’s time… present and in intention. it matters not the nature of the labor, if you spend an hour digging ditches or doing macramé, fully present. How could I be so arrogant as to think that my time is more valuable than yours? When I get queries on my artwork and I am asked, “how much for that one?” I now ask in return, “what do you want to pay for it?” I feel that when I’m truly serving my calling and not merely trying to make a “living”, the work that I produce shouldn’t be denigrated by commoditization or the quantification of it’s value. I could tell you the amount of hours it took, or the cost of my materials, but honestly how can you quantify or put a price tag on something that has intrinsic value only through bringing beauty into your life?
It has slowly sunk into me: What role can I play to bring about a better and more beautiful world? What can I do to call into being the world I wish to live in? I know in my heart a more beautiful world is possible; we all instinctively know this. How can I honor my gifts and simultaneously honor and display my gratitude for my community?
I’m gonna try and do something entirely different, I have needs that currently I can only meet by engaging in our current monetary system, so every week I’m going to give away a piece of artwork and also post a piece of artwork asking for just the cost of the needs I have that week. This is all heady scary stuff, but I’m willing to make this commitment and do my little part to help foster and nurture a gift economy. I’m going to be utterly transparent in what my needs are and hopefully by pursuing my “calling” rather than my “career” I already have a community that I hope is willing and capable of supporting that. I’m deeply grateful for the special circumstance that has afford me the opportunity to explore different economic models… and I’m hopeful this is something we can do together.