My personal art economics have always included a full time job. I never really understood how to hustle for money in order to avoid the rat race. In addition, my practice takes up a lot of my mental energy and I value the consistency of steady pay. I don’t ever want to have to figure out how to make money to see my projects to fruition. In my previous experience working off the grid, I found that whenever I had a lot of free time I did not have a lot of resources and when I had ample resources the opposite were true.
We are running a small business—a café and social center called Backstory, on the south side of Chicago. A substantial monetary investment was made at the outset and subsequent cash infusions have been necessary since. Hours upon hours of unpaid labor have been poured into the effort. Creative energies have been diverted from other projects into the resource stream of this enterprise. Family dynamics have shifted to create space for this new occupation. Other life paths have gone untraveled. How do we value each of these contributions and sacrifices? How do we appraise the worth we gain through our involvement in Backstory?