4. Did you ever doubt that this was the right path for you?
Absolutely - Ha. I mean I think [hope] that’s totally normal! There are many pressures placed on young adults, particularly right after finishing higher ed (the “quarter-life crisis,” I have joked with friends), to identify a single career path to follow forever, and I have certainly buckled under them at times. With the right incubator and creative peers cheering you on, however, any given interest can morph into multiple variations over time. I think it’s okay to leave the door open to other opportunities within reason. I don’t like being boxed in, but I do think I will write about art in some capacity or another for the rest of my life.
5. What has studying artists taught you about perseverance?
I addressed this a little bit in question #2, but I would say that more than art itself, moving to a new city has taught me much about perseverance in regards to art. For better or worse, art journalism and publishing in most cities is driven by finding an “in”—the right contact that appreciates your work and that will take a chance on you. That could be an editor, a gallerist, an artist, a fellow writer, etc. Once the first story is a success and you’ve made a good impression, things tend to fall into place from there. Given the relational nature of art writing, you can imagine why moving to a new city with no relationships and no overlap from previous relationships poses a challenge.
Hitting a few walls initially, I considered putting writing on hold indefinitely. It comes down to how much you want it and how inspired you feel. I didn’t realize how much I desired to write about art until I was finally asked to review an exhibition here in Nashville, and I geeked out. I suppose that’s some version of perseverance—not giving up, even though you sort of gave up…only for an itty bitty second. ;-)
I just realized that you said studying “artists” and not art. Ha. My bad. I’d like to say one thing briefly on that. I admire artists of all kinds, but as a woman, there is a special place in my heart for women artists. It’s an uphill battle for equitable opportunity, compensation, and respect for women in any profession (you see this as far back as Artemisia Gentileschi [Italian Baroque] and Louise Elisabeth Vigee Le Brun [French Rococo and Neoclassicism]), so seeing career artists who are women and have considerable influence in the art world today is empowering.