Meta-Practice

Dear Inner Broke Art Student

We’ve had some good times, haven’t we? We’ve found great deals and explored odd lots, and gone on adventures in re-use and recycling.

I’ve learned a lot from you. But I think it’s time we part ways.

It’s not you.

Well, to be honest, it is you.

According to Creative Capital, artists would be well-advised to systematize least liked activities, making more time to savor favorite ones. Sourcing materials can be a drag sometimes. My materials can be wide-ranging, which means it’s necessarily unsystematic; I have to experience learning curves to reconcile my needs with various industries’ consumer products.

Still, your ‘broke’ mentality hasn’t helped.

We’ve been indulging frugality and it’s been costing too much time. Our susceptibility to sticker shock and our refusal to be price-gouged has no immediate impacts except in only prolonging our procurement sagas. And, Inner Broke Art Student, you extend our stays in retail hell by calculating and re-calculating price comparisons, and compulsively trimming the fat from our shopping basket at the last minute.

You also refuse to accept the entropic nature of schlepping. Boards get scuffed, pristine papers get crinkled. Like the universe, elbows on the subway are indifferent to our petty human dramas. Getting a back-up won’t kill us.

Lastly, your distaste for shipping charges is costing us hours, and if you let us pay ourselves even just minimum wage for our time running errands, you’d see that we’re only saving pennies. Yes, I’m going to get more things shipped, even when it costs money. Don’t give me that carbon footprint line—we spewed more exhaust as Californians driving everywhere.

I know: I’ve changed. Call me a New Yorker, I can take it. That’s the difference between you and me: I don’t think we can go on like this, being our own free interns forever.

I’ve been working on my next project, and I gave myself the permission to experiment, play, and think big. That means being OK with throwing money at materials. I’m sorry to break the news: without your ‘broke’ mentality, it’s been liberating.

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