I am about $140,000 in debt right now, thanks to student loans. And that number is growing all the time. I owe $90,000 to Sallie Mae for interior design school. I only borrowed $33,000 but the interest rate is 13%.
I support myself by working full-time as a receptionist in an office in downtown Chicago.
My art practice is threatened by my economic reality. I really shouldn't have an art studio at all. I can't afford to pay for it and pay what Sallie Mae and the government are asking me to pay for my student loans. I had my federal loans in forbearance for a long time, but that will end soon. I am desperately trying to sell something by the end of the month so I can make all the payments I need to make. Otherwise, I will have to ask my parents, and I really hate doing that. I can't afford to enter any more shows with fees this year, nor can I afford to travel. That has really curtailed my art practice. Fortunately, here in Chicago we have a lot of opportunities to show our work for free, but there are some important shows I am missing out on by not being able to afford to enter them. And the car I drive is very old and not as reliable anymore. In fact, it broke down on the way to a suburban art show and has been in the shop for the past month. All of these factors make it so much more important for me to sell as much work as I can so that I can afford to travel, pay my studio rent, and pay to enter shows. Also, here are two blog posts I wrote that discuss these issues further: Supporting artists is a good cause, too Artists Are The 99 Percent