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I’ve been talking to a young friend about balance.

Actually, she is the daughter of friends of ours, but recently, through Facebook, across the oceans (she is currently in Australia) this bright young artist and I have found we have things in common, other than my memories of hysterical laughter at her dressing up as a very young child, to “entertain” us!

A small detour… this is one of the absolute indisputable joys of being an artist… the people I count as friends range from 20 year olds to 85 yr olds. Their age is immaterial, race, gender, sexuality, class, employment, income, where they live, all are immaterial.Their brains however, are the thing… the way they talk, fast and loose, funny, creative, political, subversive… I bloody love it, long may it continue!

Anyway… said friend is due to come back to the UK after a few years travelling about and looking at the world through her eyes and her camera lens, and is looking at her options. I’m not sure if I am the right person to ask, and wonder if her parents would be that chuffed about advice I’m offering – actually, I’m careful not to use the word “advice”, and repeat at regular intervals that this is just an opinion, and others are available, and should be sought!

Balance is the key though. She requires a certain financial stability – don’t we all – but does not want to lose sight of who she is in a job that could consume her… she is looking at teaching among other things. She is at the other end of the lens of this to me… I have given up the salary for the freedom, she is looking for the salary to give her the freedom…

She would be an amazing teacher, I can just see her in front of a group of recalcitrant teenagers… she is funny, intelligent, wise, open, trusting, brave, creative… she would be great! But… when I look at other artist/teachers I know, who are also those things, they are now exhausted, cynical, fed up… and I would hate to see this happen to my friend…

So what do I offer up? Just an opinion, and a bit of world-weary experience, along with hopefully, a load of enthusiasm for the freedom to think how you want to. What sort of advice would I give to the 25 year old me?

A small amount of financial security goes a long way, if you’re not that bothered about spending money on “stuff”. We are so fortunate in this country, to be so free to be who we want to be. Free (ish) to get an education that can get us where we want to be, do what we want to do, with the people we want to be with…

So, my young friend… I watch with great interest and pride as you throw yourself at life! I can’t wait to see what you do, how you do it, and what you do along the way.

I can’t wait to see the artwork you produce – I don’t know what it will be, but I love it already!