Mamas and Art / by Anna Rae

A friend sent this to me because I've previously voiced concern about the mother/artist dilemma:

Well said. I don't like the fact that we think as an artist we have to suffer for work, that as a mother we will lose intensity and drive to make and continue, that the subject matter will will be sanded down from raw and emotional to safe and easy to digest.  I'll admit I took that last route for a minute and quite possibly, subconsciously, I was worried about the fact that people might interpret my artistic endeavors as selfish while having a tiny screaming baby in the other room. And it probably would have been/was. Haha. No, but really. I'm so glad I abandoned that ship. Thus far, my art career had a peak around 2007-12 and I haven't gotten back "up" since. The cause could be attributed to many social fuck ups, physically moving home, and the isolation of graduate school (as well as the temporary inflated ego it provides). Regardless, because of that whole debacle I was certain that similar sentiments to what AP said about maybe having a child will make me a better artist.  It wasn't the impetus by any means but I guess I was not concerned with it negatively affecting an already suffering art career. In contrast to AP, my husband and I planned to breed. I had a two person family and his was across the ocean. We craved to build and I'm so glad we decided to give her a head start with the security of being loved and wanted.  Regardless of plans, I'm 110% certain that there would never be regrets in raising a child. It's all gushing love, fulfillment, learning, relearning, absorbing, sharing, problem solving, and a slew of other ridiculously spectacular acts. Some of the best and unnamable acts I know of. 



Lastly, the women artists that Amanda chose to refer to as great examples of makers and mothers is so concretely reassuring. I want to emulate and conjure their powers. I would like to add a few more to the list of extreme female multi taskers to thank for leading:  

Sally Mann

Jenny Holzer

Miranda July

Laurie Simmons