How did you get into debt?
The two ways I got into debt are schooling and a credit card. I got the credit card when I graduated highschool and have been in debt ever since. Then once I graduated I got hit with student loan debt. I paid it for a while but then stopped paying when I quit my cleaning job because I could no longer afford it. I applied for the financial hardship section of deferring payments. As of last month, I am now paying my student loans again.
How does your economic reality effect your art?
It limits my production of high quality work by being forced into needing to make more marketable art in addition to my conceptual work. If I was more economically stable, I would be able to only make work that is geared toward social change and making the world a better place. It can be limiting by not being able to buy materials, resources and fuel to produce the art. I am really worried about finding a new studio next year because at this point, I am not paying for a studio. I am a resident artist at the Charlotte Street Foundation in Kansas City, MO that offers free studio space. Which is obviously amazing. It is going to be a challenge adding another big monthly expense trying to have a studio. My financial situation impacts my artworks themselves in a number of ways ranging conceptually, buying cheaper materials, making it more stressful to produce by needing more money and taking up headspace worrying about money instead of honing in on concept and intent with my art.
Would your work look different if you weren't in debt?:
I think it would look a lot different, yes. I would be less stressed out day to day trying to make more money or trying to make work that I can more easily sell as opposed to making the art that I want to all day long. I would also be able to save money which I haven't been able to do that for years. It would nice to build up a mild cushion in case of a medical, car, life situation that pops out of the blue. I would be more content and agile without my debt. Furthermore, I would be more able to assist those who are worse off financially than I am.