Saturday, September 11, 2010

Of fame and fortune

Well, I’ve done the unimaginable; I have got a full time job.  10 hours a day at a location in Wellington where I actually get paid to do something I was trained for- illustration.

This is amazing to me, because the very nature of the life as an illustrator is freelance and a little precarious. That is not to say that this role won’t be either- I’m working on pre-production for a movie and for as long as it takes or as long as they need me, I will be there, pencil and wacom tablet in hand . This is solace to me after a year where everything workwise I tried to instigate seemed to come to nothing and increasingly people expected me to give generously of my working hours for free. Not that I don’t like to be philanthropic you understand… but this recession has hit our household particularly badly and I just can’t do it anymore.

So, whilst I can’t tell you what I am drawing, post pictures of my work or tell you who I meet, I can say it feels wonderful to be fully employed in the creative arts on a daily basis. I fully expect there will be a time where I yearn to hole up in my studio, talk to no-one and get on with my other pursuits; the two novels half finished that possibly no-one will want to publish when they are done, the picture book ideas that need further work that possibly (repeat the previous line), the painting collections that possibly (repeat again), the e-book on creativity that possibly (yawn…) you see the pattern? But for now, I’ve stopped facebooking obsessively, expending energy on committees to further other’s careers, tweeting, emailing and wondering why it is that I have even less paying freelance work than ever.

There is a great deal of satisfaction in getting your work out there and seeing your name in print, but there is even more in buying groceries and paying the power bill. I am very happy for now to put aside fame for fortune.

In the meantime (and I did say I’d be talking about WOW obsessively for the next two weeks), go and check out my 2005 piece from WOW, Sophia’s Story, at Ora in Allen Street. And whilst you are there, I recommend you have something from their wonderful café- great coffee, great gluten free food and all around you, great New Zealand art. See, the promosexual side of me hasn’t left the room completely!


Carla said...

Good on you Fi! It's a hard road we choose to go down doing this arty farty stuff. Must be a great thing to earn some decent money for a change. Hurray x Carla

Mary McCallum said...

Best news I've heard in months. So pleased for you Fi. You'll be buying a suit next...

TK Roxborogh said...

I am continually surprise by people who wonder why I still teach when I am such a 'sucessful' author. I guess for most, esp in NZ, success is measured thus: published many times, known, shortlisted, award winning.

Yet, the steady income from teaching allows me to pay the bills and feed the kids.

Like you, I have screeeeeeds of stories (great and up there as being the best stories) to be written but I just don't have the time.

Your situation has given me pause for thought: okay, maybe one day, I might earn enough money to be able to live on the writing income but actually, what I was trained for and what my heart loves is, doing what I do: hang out with teenagers and getting them excited about English - the language and the literature.

And, it's free education for me. This term, I've learned a hell o va lot about American Football (and you can shut up Kyle) as I've studied Remember the Titans (which I've taught for four years but this is the first time I've bothered to understand the game!)

Now that the kids have left, you can become the extra super duper woman extra-ordinarie and be an illustrator for a soon to be famous movie AND a writer/artist.

Heh. Isn't this what women have been doing for decades? Being a **** AND a ****

Fifi Colston said...

yes gals, we all know this life of freelance writing, art and dance is hard yakker. And yet, and yet, I can't give it up, so getting some regular paid work in it is amazing to me. Drawing was always my core skill- and Tania- yes, we would miss that heart of our beings if we didn't do it at all. It feeds all the other stuff that allows us to create in different mediums. Having said this they'll probably fire me next week. So I won't buy a suit Mary! (never been a suit kind of gal...) said...

Well deserved - a tribute to your talent and tenacity, but I've no doubt at all that you'll still manage to juggle far more balls than most of us, even while doing your ten hours paid (oh such a lovely word) work. :) May this opportunity lead to your talents being more widely appreciated and rewarded.