Tag Archives: michelle ann miller


We’ve been working a bit on the 2010 household tax returns in recent weeks.  Last night it was time to add up all of my receipts and measure them up to my earnings from the year.  It was a dismal year to say the least, at least monetarily.  Even with the mural work early last year, the loss of two of my jobs has changed my earning landscape quite a bit.  I feel a tremendous, albeit slow, shift in my work life and the growing pains are difficult.  Last month’s trip to the Arts Enterprise Summit really opened my eyes to where I am along the journey of making a name for myself in the business of art-making.  I am by no means a newbie.  I have an established blog with a distinct voice to it and a loyal, though quiet, following (‘fans’ of my work are more prone to emailing than commenting).  The work I do in my Drawing Down the Vision partnership with Adam has further opened me up to the idea that what I bring to the table with my creative skill-set is of value and could provide me with some income.

Money and art-making are a tricky partnership psychologically and I have worked hard in recent years to come to grips with the issues.  I have come across many artists who have turned their art work or their blog or other creative skills into a living and I look to them as guiding lights on my own career path.  Remember yesterday’s fellow smoothie drinker from Wales, Michael Nobbs?   He has done extensive research on creativity and how to foster it and sustain it.  He has recently come out with a subscription to his thoughts and writings for a mere $2 a month.  Today I subscribed to his newsletter, figuring it’s about the cost of a cup of coffee, only once a month.  I really love what I have read on his blog thus far, I appreciate his rather no-non-sense approach to art making (like the idea of just making it a habit, like coffee) and frankly, I am willing to pay this small price to get more in depth into his take on creating and sustaining an artful life.  I highly recommend you check out the work he is doing and support it if you are ready to move your own work along a little further down it’s distinct path.  After all….

Today you are you, that is truer than true.  There is no one alive who is youer than you!”  ~Dr. Suess

Another artist who has a blog so juicy you could pay for it is Rima Staines.  I’ve linked to her website here before so you already know, I am a fan.  Recently Rima added a ‘donate’ button to her site encouraging readers to contribute if her ‘Hermitage has rung bells in your spirit’.  I am here to tell you that when I am once more gainfully employed again (new part time job starting soon…) I will be throwing a coin (or two) into her hat to keep her ‘in teabags and ink’.  I am contemplating going the same route with this blog and would love to hear some thoughts from readers about this idea.

While I have been fortunate to be able to take my career one tiny baby step at a time, many artists have had to make tough financial decisions around their art work just to pay the rent and keep the wolves from the door.  My long time friend Michelle Ann Miller, an artist living and working in Sheboygan, Wisconsin is one of these artists.  Michelle created the Nothing New Project a number of years ago and set about documenting a year where she did not purchase anything new that she could not otherwise obtain used, or create herself.  This practice served her well by keeping her expenses down and giving her a platform and structure from which to create some interesting work.  She is still blogging and still finding creative ways to make a living and documents them in the newer version of her blog, {almost}nothing new.

So these are just a few of my thoughts on the proverbial ‘elephant in the room’ that is Making a Living as an Artist.  But it’s not all seriousness all the time around here.  There is always time for puppy play time and a doodle or two…

i heart sheboygan

Last weekend I was able to steal away to Sheboygan, Wisconsin for a visit to my dear friend and fellow artist Michelle Miller.  She and two other Sheboygan based artists, Gregory Brulla and Erica Jane Huntzinger opened a gorgeous show at a place called Ebco saturday night.  All of the work was beautiful and thought provoking.  I took a few pictures that evening but was having more fun meeting new people and simply looking at all the great art.

Michelle’s work uses a slew of interesting materials from panty hose and potatoes to mylar which is used to encase batteries.  She utilizes a dialogue between the work and architecture putting the viewer in the position of being in the middle of it all.  All three artist’s work blended nicely together and for a small town, Sheboygan turned out a pretty large group of art lovers and supporters making for a great evening over all.

So why Sheboygan, of all places?  Well Michelle was part of a project awhile back called M.I.K.E and fell in love with the place.  After a stint in Brooklyn, she made the decision to head back to Sheboygan where nature is closer, rent is cheaper and art can be made without carrying one’s supplies on the subway.

There is a great art vibe in Sheboygan, thanks in part to the Kohler Art Center. We visited to see some amazing art there but alas, the only thing I was permitted to photograph was the tiling in the bathroom.  It was worth photographing, for certain!

Not all of our time in Sheboygan was spent geeking out on art.  Most of our time was actually spent out of doors (ok, no surprise there).  The town is situated on the shore of Lake Michigan.  Having traveled to Lake Erie and now Michigan, I am thoroughly in love with the Great Lakes and plan to spend more time there in the future.  Although the air temperature was fairly mild during my stay there, the water temp seemed frigid when I touched it.  Even so, I was pining to be ON the water instead of just next to it.  Maybe next time.

For this trip, I was happy to gather a handful of pebbles, spend time with a dear friend and partake in local things such as honeycrisp apples and cheese curds.  Honestly, they are not that bad.  They only sound gross.

Now I am back home, inspired and working loads.  It’s a good place to be.  I have some new images to share of wax work but I think I will save that for my next blog.