The event I attended was for something called the lunchtime series that the University of Oregon is doing at the Frohnmayer Music Building. The development series has been going on for seven weeks now and the event I was at was called the Ending the Starving Artist Syndrome by Stephanie Pruitt. Stephanie Pruitt is a known poet who has done Ted talks about this certain topic and is also the founder of the No Starving Artist Academy, a resource/opportunity for artists or creators to make money with the art they create.
The event took place in a very small lounge area, maybe about 25 feet by 30 feet. The interview was conducted over an hour and the entire situation was amazing. Two microphones and two chairs about two to three feet away from each other, the interview felt very personal. Pruitt went into detail about how most artists from musical, theatrical, multi-media, etc believe that to become great, you have to suffer. This is simply not true. Using some basic techniques like saving money but also investing in yourself is what interested me during this interview. Using this idea that by spending money on yourself (In certain situations), can create a better workplace or effort that you put in towards your work is a great way to not put yourself down when wanting to get a gift for yourself or rewarding yourself for the tasks you have completed.
Going into detail about Pruitt herself, she is from Nashville, TN and found her start of loving to write poems young. When trying to just work on her poetry twenty years ago with her newborn daughter, she realized that you don’t need to have to suffer to create art. While it might be hard in some regards, you don’t need to go days without food, or without a place to sleep. One of the reasons that inspired me that she mentioned was the aspect of love. The love for her child and not wanting them to suffer or starve pushed her to become the poet and social practice artist she is today.
The biggest thing taken from Pruitt’s interview was to be yourself and create what you love. Trying to not worry so much about this aspect of money or starving yourself to create better art in the process. Over some time, you learn more about how you want to show yourself to the world. The things you dislike and don’t want to do with clients or your audience, to the things you might solely focus on after some time just because you enjoy it so much.
I think that the University of Oregon is doing smart networking/professional development talks with the students there. I just wish that this was more widely available for the other art students so they could get more inspired and have less worry about aspects they sometimes cannot control. So if I had one thing to change about this experience, it would be to take it out of the music building and put it into a bigger and more welcoming environment for students of all arts to come and learn from. But besides that, this was truly a wonderful experience that not only gives me hope, but it also makes me relook at why I enjoy doing what I do in the first place. For me, that was to inspire, create wonderment, and push my boundaries.