Tomorrow is tax day 2011. What does that mean for a working artist? A lot of different things.
First, let me talk about what I am thankful for in terms of Uncle Sam. We live in a free, democratic, capitalist country. If you want to learn, grow and succeed as an artist when you are currently say a project manager, you can do that. No one stands over your shoulder and tells you no…the only barriers holding you back are the space between your ears, your wallet and your watch (your thoughts, your finances and your time). I am thankful for that freedom and the men and women of our military branches who invest their lives protecting that freedom.
Second, I am thankful for the plethora of information available online, in libraries, books, tv, radio, television and our own imaginations. If you need to know about a topic chances are you can find something or someone to use as a resource, encourager, or comrade in arms! Information is power, and the use of that information is freedom.
And I am very thankful for the people who create ‘stuff’ that we artists use to create. The tool builders, the color blenders, the paper makers, the welders, the junk dealers, and the stores who sell supplies and keep them on the shelves. Oh yes, and the shipping companies who bring it all so easily to my front door for a small price. If I need it I can find it online, or in a store, or at a junk shop, and it will end up in our studio just waiting to be transformed.
And last but not finally, I am thankful for people who are the dreamers of this world. Those crazy people who think something then act to put it into production…be it an artist, an engineer, or a ditch digger. Everyone has the ability to dream of a better life, a better picture, or a better mouse trap. BUT…it’s the doers who I admire. Those courageous people who battle the odds, circumstances, and their own self-doubt to make their ideas happen. Anyone can dream big, but it is the execution of that dream that makes one person infamous and another invisible. And it goes without saying, but I will say it anyway, the doers could not be doers without the freedoms Uncle Sam provides and the information protected by this great nation, without the merchants and buying public who invest in our executed dreams.
And so I end up back at tax day 2011. We signed our forms, faxed them back to our accountant, and we will send a check off to Uncle Sam to pay our fair share…or share that is, I am not sure if ‘fair’ really fits. But I am not complaining. I could not enjoy the freedoms I just praised without the price of income taxes, and FICA, and social security…and all those other taxes we pay in our loaves of bread or gas tanks. Our book-keeper keeps us up to date each month and our accountant keeps Uncle Sam as an ally not a foe.
As a working artist (and I mean someone who not only works a corporate job but someone who is working toward being a full-time artist) I have to be aware of all the ins and outs of taxes…collecting them from clients, reporting and paying them to the state, documenting them for the book-keeper, disclosing them to the accountant, and paying them to good old Uncle Sam. I understand that at least a third to half my pay check and profits go toward taxes; and I understand the game we Americans play each April to figure, calculate, and then pay our ‘fair’ share. And I can’t tell you how blessed we are to have smart numbers people in our lives to take care of these things, which allows us to dream, and execute, and transform those endless shelves of supplies into our works of art.
So thank you Uncle Sam for this country in which we artists and doers are able to dream…and the check is in the mail!