A discussion I just posted on Craigslist: I have a big question for other artists out there with day jobs. How do you get anything done when you work all day? How do you balance work-work and real work? How do you combine the two? How do the two influence each other?
Here is the discussion thus far:
-speaking for me, I don't sleep much. Naturally, all I ever need is 6 hours max. Because of my injuries and the accompanying arthritis, I sleep only about 4 hours. I get lots painted that way. Plus, I've started selling insurance for Farmer's, down in the Pearl, and I do that 95% at home. Therefore, I can take a break and apply paint to canvas, or wax to panel, in between quotes. :) I have to say, I work to pay for my life, I do NOT live to work, and therein lies a lot of difference. Work affects my art only in that it pays for the supplies. :)
-Though I envy people who don't need sleep, sleeping is vital for me as an artist. Many of my dreams are integrated into my work. If I didn't have my dreams, I'd be a lone camel trotting away on thirsty desert sand.
-I was born this way, and they never figured out, that putting me to bed at 8:00 pm was guaranteed to have my rump up and into things at 2:00 am. I have very vivid dreams, I remember most of them. I very rarely get my images out of dreams. I do one hell of a lot of problem solving in my dreams. My images come usually like a 2"x4" upside the head.
-Careful time management, making the most of
the time you have, adapting your work to fit the time you have.
-My job hindered my art and I was always so tired I couldn't get my laundry done on my day off. But after 6yrs of abuse I quit and have been living off of my savings and working part time. Now my art comes before anything else. I figure that I've got to spend more time on art than wasting my life working for corporate robots.
-Start a careful analysis of all time that is wasted. There's a lot of it: - If you watch TV, get rid of it immediately. - Don't allow other people to waste your time - Have a few close friends, and less social life - Manipulate your working schedule if boss will allow (working 4 x 10 hour shifts frees up one of your days to work in the studio without loss of income - If your regular day job involves a computer, get good at doing art research, discussion and paperwork tasks while at your day job (what do you think I'm doing right now?) - sleep less, exercise more: this will truly increase your total energy, allowing more work. You have to be in good physical shape to work 80 hours per week. - don't fuck around. We'll all be dead soon. Treat every moment as the precious potential that it is.
-I work about 4 days a week as a graphic designer and then spend all my other time painting (and art-related business). I usually work 10-6pm on design, then 7-12pm on Art. Plus all weekend on Art. The hardest part is making enough time for my girlfriend. Luckily she is very busy too and very, very supportive. I look at like this: If I bust my ass right now while I'm still young, hopefully the ball will be rolling fast enough, that when we decide to have kids and I can quite the design job. Because my day job is creative, I find at the end of the day I still have more creativity on tap. If I were working in a restaurant (of something non-creative) I think it would be much harder to switch gears.