Could you live without making stuff?

Back in 1982, I was studying dance in Boston, right out of high school, working evenings and taking two classes a day in the morning. I was even in a couple of performance groups over a ten year period of living in Boston. It was fun but difficult. A dancer friend of mine decided to stop being a dancer. He just decided to wise up and get a real job. He was a promising young choreographer.

Bird woman sketch by zoe zuniga
Bird Girl Sketch by Zoe Zuniga 2009

About a year after performing in one of his pieces I bumped into him on the subway on my way to dance class.  I had wondered where he had gotten to. He told me he into book keeping or tech or something and quit choreographing and dancing. Just stopped completely. No dance group on the side or anything. He explained that he did not have to struggle all the time anymore just to make a living and get recognition. He said life was so much more enjoyable since he quit dancing.

He seemed extremely happy with his decision. And that is what it is really all about; having as happy and fulfilling an existence as you can, art or no art. I have always envied him for being able to just walk away from artsy stuff and do something that was in sync with his times and culture, and be happy with it.

 Being artsy is a blessing and a curse

A lesbian friend once told me back when things were even harder for gay people in the USA, “I would not wish this lifestyle on any one. But well, at the same time it is also the greatest joy in my life.”

I feel the same way about art as she did about being queer. I wish I could just stop making stuff because being an "outsider" is not easy. But at the same time making art has brought me more joy than anything else in life. But the artsy life is expensive. You need time and money to really get art projects going, start selling work online or offline. You need energy to get publicity and support and learn your craft weather you are a dancer, painter, designer or writer. Whatever it is you do it takes time and moola. There are few patrons these days and things are not set up for art making. Conversely, if you are willing to learn some tech skills and marketing skills and push that extroverted side it is possible to side step the gatekeepers of old and sell directly to your audience online and offline. 

But it takes a certain determination to keep fighting for time and money to make art whether you are doing it full time or on the side while you work a traditional job.


Making stuff takes time and money 

You have probably noticed that it can lots of time and space for messes and experiments before you reach that final product that you can sell or show. You also need money and knowledge of marketing and promotion if it is to be a satisfying, enjoyable experience at all unless you are able to just do it as a hobby on the side and more power to you if you can. It simplifies life to not feel compelled to sell your stuff. 

Marketing means extroversion

Making art can be a solitary passion, unless you are in the performing arts and work with groups. Marketing goes against the grain for many of us who are natural introverts. 

I have been making art since I could hold a crayon at the age of 2. I love to create things on my own spending many gloriously happy hours  joyfully assembling, gluing, painting, sewing, sanding, drawing, collecting, writing, and lately digitally sculpting and painting and designing stuff as well.

photo source unsplash

I love the creative process and can’t seem to feel fully alive without some kind of  ongoing project in the works. I went to art school and did commercial illustration right out of art school, but I was so meek and shy in those days I could not hack the self-promotion aspect so I decided to be practical and get a “real job”, something sanctioned by society, where you could make money. I taught aerobics had a successful sports massage office and then taught Pilates and salsa dance, worked retail, and had various cleaning and organizing gigs; but all the while I was still busily painting, drawing writing and assembling things and intermittently showing and selling art in various forms.

An exciting time to  be creative

So a few years ago I decided to just bite the bullet and really learn about marketing creative things offline and online.  This is an exciting time to be a person who makes stuff. I came across some interesting courses and information I want to share with you, dear reader.

Zoe Zuniga
Zoe Zuniga, Illustrator

Hello fellow creative person

Thanks for stopping by...

I have been a freelance illustrator and designer for over 30 years as well as working many different side gigs to pay the bills. Hopefully I can pass on some ideas on how to make creativity more feasible for others and help them avoid a few of the pitfalls I have encountered in my endeavors to make stuff in a satisfying, healthy and balanced manner without the myth of the starving artist .

Acrylic painting by Zoe Zuniga

Sites by Zoe Zuniga

Right Brain Web Design sites for creatives

Zoe Zuniga Creations Design services

Zoe Zuniga Illustration Art for the web

Plangent Noise Science fiction eco novel

Places I sell art online

Saatchi Art

Art Majeur

3D models coming soon! at

Blue lady portrait of mom by Zoe Zuniga age 4
Blue lady portrait of mom by Zoe Zuniga age 4