“The first problem that an Artist has to face…”
This quote from my quote book, To Be An Actor, is from American composer, Phillip Glass, “The first problem that an Artist has to face is how to survive.” My favorite Artist is Vincent Van Gogh, and I thought you had to suffer, that you had to struggle as he did, in order to be a true Artist. But Vincent had his brother Theo, to help him out, to send him money. I had nobody that would be able to do that for me. I had to find a way to eat, pay my bills, pay for classes, pay for headshots, car expenses and more. It’s not true, struggling doesn’t necessarily make you a better actor. For so much of the beginning of the work I did as an actor, I was only able to show suffering, anger, pain. It was great for me to draw from when I put up the plays, Danny & The Deep Blue Sea, Strange Snow, Private Wars, Lou Gehrig Did Not Die Of Cancer and many more, with The Artist Theatre Group. But what did I know of joy? Nothing. I wouldn’t truly understand that feeling until, Oct. 16, 2000, when my son Matthew was born. I did find ways to survive, which not only helped me to pay my bills, but made me a better actor, by giving more life experiences to draw from in service of my art. I have worked as a limo driver, insulation installer, painter, construction worker, janitor in a mental hospital, a graveyard digger, gardener and many other jobs that have given me a greater respect and understanding of people. I am lucky these days to make my living as a teacher, which is something that I love and would do for free if I could. I still have never been able, to this point, to make a living as an actor, but one day… Today I hear a lot of my young students, say that they don’t want to do anything but act. They have no idea what they are missing out on. What are they going to be able to draw on in service of their art?