So I recently made an executive decision to quite painting models for others indefinitely. This e-mail I sent to a client sums things up nicely:
"I am currently under a lot of pressure with my studies, and additionally, with work/a baby coming up, I don’t have much, if any, free time. In my pursuit to become a somewhat sought-after commission painter I was ruthless and Machiavellian. I made a website, promoted myself shamelessly, and, most importantly, offered slave-labour painting prices to try and oust competition. What I didn’t realise is that commission painting is, for the most part, a thankless job. I am proud of the models I have painted over the past 6 or so months for people, but at the same time I get no realistic reward. Customers keep the minis and I get paid a pittance. This is not a reflection of any of my customers at all, but rather a reflection of the bad choices I have made.
There are many full time commission painters out there who can actually manage to make a living from the practice of painting miniatures. They have time on their side, and the financial rewards seem almost worth it. I am not one of these painters. I have been an unfortunately selfish person, who has little faith in my own ability. I do not wish to continue life as this person. I once said that I love this hobby, and that was the reason I do commission painting. That much is still true, I do love this hobby. But I no longer feel joy from painting other people’s miniatures. The truth is that if I want to make a mark on the art or hobby world I want it to be my mark.
I suppose this is still selfishness in essence. But at least in this way I am not out to further the non-existent and somewhat fantastical dream of becoming one of the world’s greatest miniature painters. Rather, I am quitting because I know I will never be a ‘great’ artist. I enjoy art, but I paint at a mediocre level. I like the idea of fame, but I hate the crippling anxiety and panic attacks that come from being around large crowds or having my work judged. I love food, but I work out obsessively because I’m irrationally scared that people would no longer like me if I was unfit.
This is all probably just chronic depression-Max speaking. But I know when to listen to that guy. The times I haven’t listened to that guy have sent me into spirals of self loathing, and made me attempt suicide 3 times. The times I don’t listen to the person inside telling me I am unhappy I become a weak, inadequate, feeble fool. Nowadays my strength is in knowing what it is that has become a problem in my life.
My brother (someone I look up to immensely) once said that the Wellbeing Officer at the college he attended in his first two years of study at university described him as “an extremely bright young man with a cannabis problem”. In response, my brother described himself as “an extremely bright young man with a college problem”. My brother continued to indulge in those things that made him happy the entire time he attended university. He graduated with a Distinction average, well and truly above the college’s failing average.
This is in some ways a metaphor for the situation I am in. Some people simply can’t handle certain things. For some people, alcohol, marijuana, and other illicit drugs ruin their lives, as these are things that cause them to break things and act violently (alcohol), be consistently lazy (cannabis) or, once again, break things and act violently (many other drugs). This is not the same case for everyone, and thus, not everyone understands. For others, things they can’t handle include unfamiliar social situations (my brother at college), differences in political or social ideology (once again, my brother at college), ridiculously large work loads (me right now), or random and embarrassing anxiety attacks (me right now). This is not the same case for everyone, and thus, not everyone understands. For all of these the end result, if left untreated and advised, is the same; a debilitating sense of loneliness, despair and depression.
This is a lifestyle choice. I want this. Call me what you will, but I know, personally, this is a requirement for my health. I am not quitting the hobby. I am simply giving myself some breathing space.”
Thank you all for your support and kind words in advance. You people here on Tumblr are, without a doubt, some of the best human beings to walk this earth, and I have no doubt most of you will understand the situation I am in.