the infrastructure of a creative life

I believe that the most creative act an artist can do is figuring out a way to give themselves the opportunity to create. It seems that the majority of my time goes not into making art, but into building and supporting the infrastructure of my creative life. Promoting my art so that people see it, hopefully buy it, and thereby let me make more of it. Acquiring and maintaining the tools I need, and constantly learning how to use them better. Earning enough of a living through my business, without it taking over all of my time. It feels like I’ve spent most of the past couple weeks fixing bugs in my online store, tracking down an elusive networking problem, learning new photographic software, and solving some customer support issues. All while having my 3 year old son often underfoot (he thinks my studio is the best jungle gym), helping with our 6 week old daughter, and tracking down the building inspector for work we are having done on our house. Whew!

It makes me laugh how inaccurate the Hollywood image of an working artist is: toiling in his studio, alone with his muse, free from the cares of the outside world. Ha! However, I’m not complaining. In fact, I love it. I want a creative life, and that means I need to create a life that lets me be creative. (Say that three times fast.) In fact, some of the most fun I have is building this infrastructure. I spent this past January learning how to program a shopping cart for my online store, and had a blast. Seriously! It can be frustrating at times, but that’s part of the bargain. All of this extra work might take away from my time to make art, but I know without it I wouldn’t have the opportunity to make art.


great post! I couldn’t have said it better myself. Its cool you enjoy the process of learning and fumbling, that is something I have just started to embrace and it feels like a reward in patience and tenacity when finally things work, art is made, sold and then you get to start all over again with the next bug/tool/device.

Lucky kids you have, they have their dad around AND a creative one at that.

My role model for an artist’s life is Charles Schultz. No matter how busy he was on the comic strip, he always had time for a game of baseball with his kids. Right now my baby daughter is in a bouncy seat at my feet. I’m trying to keep her asleep so I can work just a little longer. Shhh….

And after all that I read, you never once mentioned anything about Tylenol, Advil, or any of that stuff.
How did you manage that? : )

Daniel, I did not know you had a journal going until I saw a recent comment you made over at Mark Graf’s site.
Will have to load your feed in and start paying some attention over here.
Really looks nice!

And, … pay very close attention to those little ones while you can.
Next thing you know, they will be asking for the keys to the car, … then you most certainly will need something for your head!!

Take care Daniel,

Great post. Thinking about the infrastructure as supporting the creativity is really helpful. There are so many ways to do this, I guess the key is to figure out the the infrastructure that suits you and your lifestyle best. I’m still trying to puzzle this out myself–what keeps me going and helps support the actual work best?