Yes. Massively in debt. Because I did not come from affluence yet wanted to have a good education.
I make a living as an art teacher. I owe more on my student loans than I do on my house. In order to get out of debt in a reasonable amount of time, I signed up for the Public Service Forgiveness Program as a public school teacher. Although I have been offerred higher-paying positions in the private sector, I have had to resort to lower-paying positions in the public sector to continue to qualify for the PSFP--limiting my options in the job market and, thus, forcing me into a lower income bracket until my debt is forgiven. Another part of my economic reality that inspired my most recent artwork is that I delayed starting a family for a long time because of my weak financial status. When I finally decided to have a child in my late thirties, my maternity leave policy at work was pitiful and affected every area of my life--including economic deferment from my student loan payments due to the unpaid time off to recover from delivery, adding to a mountain of existing debt with out-of-pocket medical costs, and jeopardizing my job and the health of my baby if I did not return to work within three months. Between feeding sessions, diaper changes, endless laundry, and household chores, I found myself working harder at home than I ever did for salaried work---only without pay. This is why I began documenting my every task (both digitally and physically) to compare that tally to tasks performed for paid work.
Throughout many years, especially while I was living in New York City, I found myself having little to no time at all for my art practice because of my demanding day job/s that I had to maintain in order to support myself. Now that I live in the Houston area, as much as I would like to afford a studio, I have to decide between paying my student loans and childcare, thereby using my kitchen, garage, or a corner of my bedroom to create new work.