Back in October
2014 Tracey Emin said that female artists can’t have kids, stating that it isn’t easy for women to juggle the demands of an artistic career and parenthood. You can read more here
This interview took place around the time that I had my second child. Having children does change your life, there is no question about that. Suddenly your own priorities come second to this little creature who is completely and utterly dependent upon you!
I do think that Emin has a point. It is definitely harder to do things for yourself when you have young children.
Harder, but not impossible.
It’s quite ironic really, but I have produced more artwork since having my first child in 2012 than I did in the previous ten years when I was child-free! Crazy, when I think of all that time I had – what was I doing??!! I guess I sort of dabbled, not really being serious, letting myself get distracted.
Now I am a lot more focused.
If I have a free hour I get working instead of watching the television. If I get a day (which is a huge luxury & very rare!) I head straight down to the studio, lock the door and create. I am only human & there are of course times when I need to do nothing and relax, but I have found that since having less time I actually get a lot more done!
Arthur Ashe pretty much sums up what I am trying to do when he says ‘Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.’
However, sometimes my good intentions are disrupted & things don’t always go to plan!
One particular night I put the kids to bed. Husband out, house to myself – great! Race downstairs to get on with some artwork. Just get started when I hear a cry from upstairs. I rush back up. Toddler stood on landing crying, covered in sick and I mean covered! Initiate clean up mission – bath, dress, soothe toddler. Change bedding, clean floor, spray lots of Fabreeze about!
Just about to start work again when there is another cry, only this time it’s the other one! I go back up. He also has been sick. So I start the whole process all over again! The small window of opportunity I had vanished before my eyes – highly frustrating!
However, I have learned not to fight it. The children come first. There will be ups and downs. There will be many, many nights like this! I just have to accept it, laugh (and cry!) and move on.
The children are part of my life – a huge part of it. I love them, but I also love my art. So, the two often merge. I enjoy capturing their antics on paper as a reminder of their funny, quirky, heartwarming ways. Many of these scribbled drawings are on scraps of paper or in old sketchbooks – basically whatever I can get my hands on at the time. I am in the proces of collating all these drawings – I have an idea to put them all together to create a book. The idea being that I create a library of these books over the years, something to show the boys as they grow and for me to flick through in my old age!
Emin may feel that she could never compromise her art for children, but I feel that my children often enhance my artwork and provide new ideas that I’d never thought of previously.