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February 2006

February Issue: Romance

Gallery

Columns

  • EMG News:
    February 2006
  • Wombat Droppings:
    On Romance
  • Healthy Green Artists:
    Let There Be Light!
  • Behind the Art:
    Basics of Composition
  • Cosplay101:
    First Thoughts when choosing a Costume
  • Myths and Symbols:
    The Sun, Part 1

    Features

  • Living with an Artist
  • My Wife the Artist
  • Romancing an Art Director
  • Online Marketing Part II: Your Site

    Fiction

  • PA Spotlight: Leonie Character from Elizabeth Weimer
  • Poem: The Limmer Bardís Wife
  • Fiction: Time for Valour: Treasure
  • Fiction: Do I Make You Happy?

    Reviews

  • Movie: 3rd Generation
  • Movie: Brokeback Mountain
  • Movie: The Promise


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  • My Wife the Artist
    by Roy Griffin

    Yeah, that's right; I'm married to an artist. Oh the burden, the strife, the long nights filled with agonizing loneliness as she toils over her craft. Okay, that might be carrying it a bit far.

    So, what's it like to be the husband of a fine artist? What a stupid question. That isn't something a person can describe. You might as well say, "Explain to me how you feel as a human being." I usually like to plaster a wry smile on my face and respond with, "Excellent".

    We are left with the difficult, time-consuming, long and involved process of trying to put onto paper something that very few people will read, and those who do view it will already have first-hand experience. It seems inconceivable that a person would put themselves through such futility. But that is exactly what I see my wife doing consistently for her art. And, I suppose that is how my creativity takes life in this world too.

    Let me give you a picture of our life together. I am an engineer. I don't currently work as one, but there really is no other way to describe me. I am a math genius (yes, I have the right to call myself that), and I love to teach people new things (as long as there is a right and wrong answer to rely upon for grading purposes). I am not sexy (though my wife thinks I'm handsome, but that's just because I have a symmetrical face). I am not rich. I can have very set black and white opinions on things that many people consider to be gray. In short; I am the antithesis to Vogue and the religion thereof. I am the anti-fashion, anti-image, nerdy grown man who believes that spending an hour to get ready is not only a waste of time, but also false advertising.

    My wife is an artist through and through. She is a trend-setter, she is fascinated by fashion and celebrity, and she is completely involved in the visual aspect of humanity. But please understand: She's not vain. When I say she's obsessed with the fashion industry, it's the same way I am fascinated by professional poker players. If any of you are reading this, can you please explain to me how you can gamble your family's wellbeing on a card game? The point is, my wife believes that art has a purpose in this world, and that purpose is to rejuvenate and lift the spirit of everyone. Me? Well, I just like the naked parts.

    It isn't that I think so little of art that I am ignorant of my wife's considerable talent. I think very highly of my wife, and her art. Then again, I've never seen any of her work that I didn't instantly recognize. Now is a good time to mention that I hate abstract, non-objective, surreal, impressionistic art. Hate might be a little strong; let's say that I despise any "art" that isn't clearly a recreation of something real. Otherwise, it's just some amateurish attempt at self-expression (like this article), that I don't have a problem with on the surface, but when you slap a price tag on it and call it art, it cheapens what professional artists are capable of.

    What most artists have in common (the good ones like my wife, and the finger-painters too) is the inability to charge what their art is worth. I imagine there are very few "artists" out there who can slap a piece together in fifteen minutes and get paid thousands of dollars for it (Jackson Pollack being the exception to this rule while he was living). My wife struggles constantly with wanting to make a serious living doing art. I am always telling her to raise her rates, and she is fearful that she won't get anymore work if she does. And she's probably right to some degree. After all, supply and demand is the principal that free trade is based upon, and there isn't really much demand for art. From a purely economical standpoint, no one should expect to get rich on art. In fact, if you can manage to make a living (i.e., enough money to support yourself while not living at home, and with no more than one roommate), then you're doing very well. In fact, I would wager to say that you're doing better than about 95 percent of the artists out there.

    I figure my wife (who has a master's degree) will make an average of about 6 to 7 grand a year at her current rates for working about 30 hours a week. If you do the math, that is between $3.84 and $4.49 per hour. Well done! And she still has people complaining about how expensive her art is. I, on the other hand, have no degree, and will make enough this year to support a family of five as part of the ever-shrinking middle-class by working a job that I do exceptionally well, but has absolutely no "spiritually uplifting" qualities. We're just different people. If I were a billionaire I would teach high school and/or middle school math, but I know that $30k per year is nowhere near enough money to support a family, so I use my big brain in a less "purpose-driven" and more practical way. And I cry a lot. The fact is I find it far more important to make ten times what my wife does, even if I have to suffer the indignity of working a job that sucks the soul out of me (not in the good way).

    Don't go reading anything into all that. I need my wife as much as she needs me. Yeah, I may pay for most things for our family, but without her, our kids would have to be in daycare all day long, they would see a parent only about two hours a day, and all I do is yell at them anyways (shut up, it's sarcasm). Not to mention that like every artist, my wife has absolutely no idea whatsoever how much she is worth as person, an employee, or an artist. So, when she does work outside the house, the house gets even more messy, the kids have to depend on me for things like baths and dinner (talk about neglect), and I am supposed to split the house-work and parenting fifty-fifty because we're both working (never mind how much we're each bringing in). I much prefer having her at home so that she is more willing to cook and clean. (No one likes to be in a messy house all day long) Now if I could just get her to the point where she worships the ground I walk on and would give me a sponge bath every night.

    Anyone who thinks that I went way off topic should go back and re-read the first few paragraphs of this article. If you're married to an artist, you damn well better be creative, appreciative of your spouse's art, and be willing to laugh at yourself. If you aren't, your marriage will never last. Cris and I are going on ten and a half years now, and I hate her as much today as I did when I met her. I know that I will always hate her this much. The only possible thing she could do to make me hate her more is if she got liposuction on that big beautiful butt of hers. Thankfully, she thinks elective plastic surgery is the devil. Some crap about everyone being beautiful in their own way without the need for surgery to change themselves. That really is surprising to me since she's met my family, but as she's grown older (getting on towards her geriatric years now) her eyesight has gotten worse.

    Roy Griffin is married to Christine Griffin.
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