Just this morning it struck me. I am about to do a campaign in January in an attempt to truly shape my life the way I dream it to be, and in the process integrate all aspects of what matter to me into a synchronised whole.
The campaign will primarily be in the form of a conversation of exploration with a potential employer. As I was doing my update on my analog catalog of quotes and notes, I came across very specific passages that sparked a tiny chain of epiphanies and connections. Such is the reward of making the time and effort to revisit the words that have made an impact upon me. Such is the reward of nonstop learning and a continuous quest for understanding.
My challenge since I became an artist has been to integrate that life with the life I had before. I know that it is not simply a matter of putting together two separate things. There will be adjustments and compromises. It is, in a way, a marriage of my selves, and it has been a very difficult one. The key word is integration, to end up with a whole instead of just two things stuck together. There should be a harmony, there should be a flow and a flexibility between them. Order and chaos in balance. Reason and emotion in productive creative play.
What I want for my dayjob is not the norm. It asks for certain privileges, certain permissions and leeways. It also promises something that is intangible, hard to measure and even idealistic. It is a long-term thing, not an instant spectacular show. It is slow, low-key, and not flashy. It is quiet and involves a lot of invisible work. Only someone who will truly see and understand it will have the courage to invest in it, to create that job title or position, to hire the person who will attempt to begin the redefinition of the mainstream.
What I want for my dayjob is to reflect more of my creative life, to bring more of my creative insights into it, to bring more of my life philosophy into it. I wish to lessen the conflict and friction due to the difference in values that underlie the disciplines. If there is a way that I can somehow plant my own creative seeds into the dayjob that I do, if there is a way I can somehow fulfill, even for the tiniest bit, what an artist is supposed to give to the world by shifting the mindsets in my dayjob industry for the tiniest fraction towards that which is in favour of what I believe in -- care for nature, conscientious and conscious consumption, sustainable consumption, creation over consumption, essentialism, that sort of thing. If I can bring my perspective into those conference tables and in the process inspire the kind of work that is more thoughtful, less template.
I am inspired by Ann Hamilton's words that say : "It is the task of the artist to lead the leaders by staying at the threshold." Instead of being absorbed by the system, I want to help the system break free from itself and to evolve, to be enlightened and be brave enough to shift, even if so slowly and so small a way at first, to begin to explore new ways of doing its work, to take a few risks to be a pioneer towards a new economics, a new culture of consumption.
My dayjob is in advertising and marketing, often working for global multinationals who are all about shares and profit, and for whom the end justified any means. What I want is impossible, or so it seems. For now.
I'm a dreamer, aren't I?
I have heard enough soft and not so soft discouragements and devil's advocates, enough cold hard sharp reasoning swished about to rip my imagined possibilities into shreds. Even now I am troubled by the misunderstanding of why I might go back into employment, and how I am thinking of doing it.
But I still dream, and imagine, and find ways through, find new arguments and proof, find new inspiration. I cannot help it. My artist self cannot help it, and she has grown so much stronger now, less likely to fold and defer to the defaults. I am much stronger now. And much braver. And at this point, what is most important I think, I hope I have much better luck.