Saturday, June 6, 2015

Painting Parent - TJ Cunningham

How many children do you have? What are their ages?
I have a sweet, little one year-old.
How did your artistic career begin?
A small gallery hosted a solo show the summer after I graduated from college. Those first few patrons have supported and promoted me since then.
What is your Parenting/work/art situation?
It is very important for me to spend the bulk of the day focused on my work. I am very thankful to my wife who shoulders most of our son’s care.
When do you make time to do your art and do you have a regular art routine?
These days I am starting in the studio around 9AM and painting until 5PM. I usually work after dinner as well.
Does your child get involved with your art?
Not yet. He is still at the stage where he would be happier putting the paintbrushes in his mouth.
Does he inspire aspects of your art?
Yes, he certainly does. Having a child has changed the way that I see things. In a way it has encouraged me to evoke my own childhood as I create.
How does making time for artwork influence other household tasks?
I paint full-time, so I try to get the household tasks finished in the evening or on weekends.
How do you encourage your child to be artistic?
I would be happy if my son became interested in art, but I am much more eager to teach him to simply see and appreciate the world around him. He will grow up in an increasingly screen-focused world. I hope that he will see what millions miss.  
Do you feel extra pressure as an artist to raise your child to be artistic?
I really want him to be his own person without feeling pressure to follow in my footsteps. However, I would be delighted if he does show an interest.
In what ways does being an artist make being a parent harder or easier?
I think that the added pressure to provide has helped in many ways. My wife resigned her job to be a full time mom which means it’s up to me to sell enough work to take care of everyone.