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Yearnotes 2020-2021 - the last year of stability

I have a section on my site for Weeknotes. I toyed with adding one for Yearnotes, but as statistically I only have another 35 to write it seems like overkill. Death-Clock says Saturday, 15th December 2057, which conveniently saves me from having to write a 36th.

Weeknotes are good for things that have just happened, Yearnotes feel like they should have more of an arc, this is mine, with a...

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Beginning

The year started, like the previous one, working for a studio in New York that helps cultural organisations take their digitised content and get them onto the internet. Which is a simple way of saying, writing code to help them exfiltrate data from content management systems (like TMS), and free them with APIs.

I enjoy working with museums and art galleries; it feels like worthwhile work. It's useful too, on the inspiration front.

I've tried very hard to build a life where I can spend half my time working, trading my skills for money, and the other half on personal projects (i.e. keeping my skills up to date). It turns out that organisations and companies are surprisingly okay with people asking to work 20 hours a week instead of 40. Well, when I say "okay" it means that I didn't pursue any jobs where it wasn't a possibility, and I've been lucky enough that 20 hours of me is good enough 😀

My personal project, in this case, was deciding to put most of my other 20 hours a week into producing pen plotter art, from my lovely art studio in the town centre.

I spend half the day looking at art created by other people, and then the other half trying to create my own. The museum work is narrow and focused, the art-work wide and relaxed. The balance is pretty perfect.

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Middle

Halfway through the year, I decided to take the step from doing art as a hobby to a profession, in the very loosest use of the word.

I wanted to write the shop software myself but quickly realised that as much fun as it is to control everything, this time I should just put it onto Shopify and move on with my life. Done is better than perfect and all that. So with JFDI as my co-pilot, I put things on the shop and amazingly sold them.

So I put some more things in the shop and sold those too.

Not enough to quit the narrow-focused work, because it just isn't feasible to create the work fast enough to sell enough to cover all my costs. But enough that it covered the cost of the studio and materials.

The art could take care of itself and finally wasn't costing me money, making it even easier to be enjoyable and focusing on the "real work" too.

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The end

And here we are, at the end of the arc, where do we find ourselves?

Well, the studio I work for in New York shut its doors at the end of November. For all the best reasons, Micah who runs it had a baby, babies are hard work, running your own studio is also hard work, winding down projects and shutting the studio was the sensible thing to do.

There is a chance that I may just carry on helping a couple of the museums, but directly. That's currently in the negotiation stage. When the world starts back at work tomorrow, on the 4th I may find out if I actually have a job, or, well, no job, it may take longer than that. I've not especially done negotiations before, they seem simple but involve a lot of waiting.

My art studio is in an old co-operative supermarket, in a shopping centre. The shopping centre is scheduled to be knocked down sometime this year, my art studio with it. Could be as soon as February, could be a whole other year, no-one knows, the place is full of Asbestos and Covid touches everything, slowing it down.

I find myself with potentially no job as such, and soon no art studio.

2021 will be the first year where I do not know where it will end. At the start of 2020, I figured by the end I'd still be doing work for museums from my art studio, I was pretty close.

I enter this year, knowing that I'll be working for someone by the end, but I have no idea who or doing what, and I'll be working somewhere, but who knows where that'll be.

Guess I'll be keeping more notes this year for the 2021 Yearnotes, should be interesting.

Let the job and studio hunting begin.

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