Cathy: My parents owned a chain of fabric stores and they were always worried about money, but I can't really criticize them for the “worry and work” attitude they passed on to me. I learned if I didn't work hard I wasn't doing my job and wouldn't get paid. So when it comes to art, is it working hard or not? And very few artists find money flowing in from their work. I love what I'm doing but wish I'd sell more.
A present dilemma is that my art was selling better before I got my MFA in 2006. My work is so much deeper and more meaningful now so I don't understand that. Before my degree I was constantly developing and collaboratiing with other artists. My pieces sold and commissions for office artwork flowed in. Now, my work shows in museums and galleries, but its frustrating because sales are slow. I love what I do, though.
Whats happening with writing?
Cathy: Besides the blog (artfullifebycathy.blogspot.com) I'm writing for Art Scene, a paper and on-line magazine that describes gallery exhibits and happenings in Southern California. Though the money is not huge, it seems like making money at writing is easier than with art.
A concept I work with is that of “enough.” Do you feel like you have enough and what areas do you wish for more?
Cathy: Honestly, in most of my life I have enough. I'm not really lusting for more. So, in that sense I have enough.
The lack shows up on my lonely days, as not having enough time or people to talk to. Artists mainly work alone, but writing gets me out, going to galleries, to exhibits, meeting people to talk about art over coffee, and interviewing curators and gallery and museum directors. These are things I need in my life, especially the interviews. I'm not the kind of artist who can just be by myself every day.
Is being Jewish your main spirituality and how does that relate to your art?
Cathy: I identify with being Jewish, but my spirituality goes beyond being Jewish, like having a higher power. I believe in God and am a very spiritual person. My faith has helped me through some tough times over the years. About spirituality and art, that's a hard one. On the one hand I think they don't relate at all and on the other? I don't know.
Is art your life's mission?
Cathy: Art has been part of my mission. It's my way of moving through the world, making sense of my life, making myself visible to myself. Maybe art is like saying “I'm here. I'm present in this world. And after me there will be something left behind.” Raising my sons is another part of my mission. I'm just beginning to write but I sense it too is part of my mission.
Do any of your struggle with money make it into your art?
Cathy: I don't really see a connection between making peace with money and my art. My work tends to be large scale. That, with using non-traditional materials makes my work not very commercially viable. I'm concerned more with meaningful creations that people can connect with, not it's worth. And some of my work does sell.
Any last thoughts?
Cathy: Money is a tough for me. I know it's all about energy, and sharing energy. When I'm not comfortable it's difficult. When I'm comfortable, the relationship is good.
Connie's after thoughts: Though Cathy talks about not making much money from her work, art is very important in her life. She loves pouring herself into each piece. And I look forward to watching her develop that same relationship with writing. For more about Cathy: cathybreslaw.com and artfullifebycathy.blogspot.com.