Every creative must learn: you've still gotta pay the bills. Local musician, artist, yoga instructor, and globetrotter Day Monet spent his young adult years wandering the world in search of a free-spirited life he could believe in. But after years scraping by financially, he decided to get 'creative' about finding a way to live his dream while supporting himself comfortably.
Nowadays, he puts his business degree and experience with corporate banking to use as a bookkeeper, accountant, and and personal finance expert. He recently shared some insight with Roaring Fork on how he has been able to strike a balance in life, art, and money. Find him at TheTaxGuru.org.
How did your artistic life begin?
My life as an 'artist' started on a tropical island in the Philippines. I was a young 20-something deeply immersed in the world of backpacking. One evening, a rowdy group of Australians arrived, accompanied by an arsenal of glitter packets. At first, I felt some grief in the eradication of my peaceful morning hours, but soon I became a curious spectator. Eventually, they asked me to join them. Several months later I was appearing at events around the island, hired to draw glitter art on attendees. I didn't become an artist for art's sake. Rather, it was the connections themselves that inspired me to dive deeper.
In your opinion, what does it mean to live a creative life?
The challenge with being a creative, for me, is balancing that creative side with all the other aspects of myself. It's easy to bugger off into the wilds and make mud art, but it's also easy to plug into the 'matrix' and slave away. There's a delicate line to be walked between these two realities.
Have you had an 'ah-ha' moment in seeking that balance?
When I eventually returned to the United States with a yoga teacher certificate, I hoped I would be able to live a life that honored all aspects of me. But earnings from my classes would barely scratch away at my bills. Something dawned on me as it did when I was a traveling street musician in Asia—that this lifestyle might not be conducive for attaining what I consider to be necessary comforts.
Any advice for other artists when it comes to finances?
Don't focus on the money flowing out (expenses) as much as the money flowing in. Figure out how to maximize your revenues while delivering the best product to your clients. Focus on the categories you do really well—don't add superfluous offerings that aren't your strong suit. Surround yourself with people who inspire you, and don't get lost in the pursuit.