I really struggle to answer the question “What do you do?”
I always need more clarification. Is the question “What do I do with most of my time?” or “What do I love doing the most” or “What do I earn the most money doing?”…it’s not an easy answer for me. I even struggle with those clarifying questions, because really – why should what I earn be important in what I’m doing and who I am?
(Plus, you’re probably just asking to be polite and you don’t really care that I’m having an identity crisis!)
I could say “art teacher”, I could say “I’m a Mum”, I could say “I’m an artist”… in the last two years I’ve flowed in and out of all three at the same time and full time for each! But never have I answered, “I’m a STREET ARTIST”.
That just never crossed my mind.
I’m not legit.
I’m an artist who LOVES working with aerosol and I’ve now done quite a few large-scale murals… but what would actually qualify me as a street artist? I always assume it means you need to be the real deal. You need a story. You need to have started in the scene doing it illegally, built up a name and then started the commissioned game.
I haven’t had that essential training; so clearly, I shouldn’t dare claim that title for myself.
Well, remember Lou Chamberlin? I interviewed her in July last year. She’s the incredible author who took the plunge and gave up teaching to document street art.
She’s just got a “small” 30K plus followers on instagram (*sarcasm!). She has been documenting street all around Australia and internationally for over 15 years – so she knows her stuff. I have a copy of her book ‘Street Art International’ on my bookshelf and it’s stunningly set out! Lou included in that book work by Jimmy C, Tristan Eaton, Invader, Banksy and many more. So many that I admire and follow personally.
Well guess what?
Lou has included my ‘Happiness Is’ mural in her latest book ‘Urban Scrawl’! I’m so over-the-moon that she would include my work. This copy arrived in the mail today and it was as though the book hit me over the head to tell me, I’m not only an artist but I actually am a street artist too! Flick over to page 75 and you’ll find me in the chapter ‘Words of Wisdom’!
Seriously! (Especially the words of wisdom part! Thanks Lou!)
So next time someone asks, “What do you do?” I’ll consider saying I’m a street artist, but probably chicken out and say, “I’m an artist and a teacher”. Don’t judge! I need a little bit more time to build up that confidence thank you very much!
Can you relate? When did you first start claiming the “artist” or “street artist” job title?