I hunker down in my bed, surrounded by crumpled tissue discards and empty pill packets. My new studio calls to me and all I can do is weakly consider what projects I can start. Each morning I do a self-assessment, hopeful that this is over; to find it isn’t. The plight of the self-employed, do you wait it out or spend the money visiting a doctor? One year I fought through during an art show: unloaded and set up by myself, worked alone to tear down and load back up by myself. I had been sick for roughly 5 days by the time I went to visit the “Doc in the Box”. Turns out I had strep.
Therein lies the issue; when you get sick, you just might really be sick. Medical insurance is expensive, but so is a major medical issue. I have hardly met an artist who retired – they age out, but they don’t do much else. That means they will be dealing with the health problems of an aging body. Joint replacements, heart issues, becoming friends with endocrinologists all end up raising their ugly heads. We end up having a lot of expenses on the road, but I would recommend keeping up your medical until the bitter end.
There are other expenses that you need to consider while you are budgeting. Roadside service on your insurance is very important. You may really enjoy having it when you need a tow in the middle of the vast emptiness of South Dakota. Nothing looks better than a wrecker when you are stuck in the wilderness of nowhere. Did you know you can also get insurance on your art and display? Extremely important to research, just ask some of the vendors at Boise last year. 6 vendors had their tents completely relocated and one was crushed by two neighbors in a windstorm. One show I heard of was on a dock and in the middle of the night, a storm pushed several full displays into the water. Of course there is also a chance that someone gets hurt in your display, liability insurance might come in handy.
Now I have a confession to make: I am what I call “a slacker with talent”. I don’t make enough as an artist to pay my bills, yet. I rely on my husband and a very supportive patron to make expenses. My husband has a job that provides medical and pays the major bills. The two of them make it so I can choose to do this and I am grateful to them everyday. I do what I can to help them in return but the main thing I do is keep pushing forward and pay attention to my health. That is why I am thinking of my studio and not in it. I’m a high mileage vehicle, the check engine light just came on and I need to make sure I get regular servicing. Don’t compromise your health, it isn’t worth the hassle.