Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Ain’t it Great to be Broke?

When I started out as a self-employed artist/screen printer, I was often scrambling to sell enough work to make ends meet. As I worked hard to build my reputation and my clientele, I saw many cycles of feast or famine. I was flush when a fistful of orders came my way, but things could get pretty tight if the flow of work slowed.

Through some miracle, not only did I manage to pay my bills, but I also managed to avoid having a regular job (I did take a detour in the middle of the Eighties, purposefully working at regular full time jobs for about a year and a half to see how it felt—and I fucking hated every minute of it!).

Interestingly, I was rarely unhappy on the occasions when my funds dwindled to near nothing. Once I penned a cartoon about how content I was when my whole estate consisted of clean laundry and two beers. What else could I possible want? Let’s face it, the two beer buzz is the best anyhow, no sense chasing that mild euphoria further to a sure hangover.

Being self-employed and running out of work and money brings on a peculiar active state of mind in me. It’s rather akin to sitting on a hot stove—you better do something fast! It is a state of affairs that always brings on a brainstorm, a surplus of ideas about how to pump up the volume (and bring in the orders) in my self-employed life.

I’d get a burst of energy and be on the phone happily cold calling prospective clients and enjoying it—after all, wasn’t I going to help them get a really swell bunch of t-shirts for a very reasonable price? Yup, you can actually enjoy selling if you believe in the value of what your hawking.

Other times, I’d design some postcard, ad or flyer that was gonna sweep the ocean and put me on easy street. I’d print up hundreds of flyers and wall-paper the town with them, paving my way to the Zona Dorado.

Somehow or other, it usually worked. I’d earn myself a decent stake of cash to tide me over. Being myself, I’d often blow my gains publishing comics books which were harder to sell than ice to Eskimos, but that’s another story.

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