Blog / 2011 / I’m a 711510.

March 24, 2011

Recently I talked with my accountant—it being that time of year again. I was only too happy to be talking with him, not because I particularly relish going through my expenses or putting my earnings under a microscope, but because he’s a delightfully strange person. Well, that and because after years of preparing my own taxes my CPA has allowed me to enjoy the first two weeks of April again.

As usual, the conversation turned to my income from last year and where it stands in relation to the year before. My CPA said he wanted to see another zero at the end of the line of numbers. Though I agreed wholeheartedly with him, I tried to make a case for my growing income as a reflection of my success. He wasn’t convinced.

Instead he told me that I’m young and that’s why I can do what I do: I still have hope that things will get better. I suppose he was right, and he had a solid point about me not being able to afford a vacation in Hawaii, but I wonder if I’ll ever lose hope or if it really has anything to do with hope at all.

painted portrait of a blond man on a very textured cloth
Gwenn Seemel
Jack Wakeland
2006
acrylic on monk’s cloth
20 x 20 inches
(You can hire me to paint a portrait like this for you!)

I like my life. I live simply, but I don’t do without. What’s more, I can’t imagine trading in doing what I love all day for eight hours daily of grunt work with the occasional week of island paradise thrown in. It just doesn’t add up for me.

I understand that different people have different priorities. I get that some people put in the time being bored and possibly unfulfilled in exchange for security and tropical beaches, and that other people fully enjoy working for a company or institution, making the benefits icing on the cake. But I’m not either of those kinds of people.

I’m proud to be a 711510—that’s the IRS code for artists. My work has never been a hobby for me nor a calling that’s above payment. It is my life.

I spend my days eating, drinking, playing, and doing what I want to do. And that lifestyle is associated with affluent people. In fact, the only thing that people with many more zeros in their income can do that I can’t is buy a bunch of stuff and fly places, and, to my mind anyway, that difference doesn’t disqualify me. I’m still plenty rich.

INBOX IT!

Receive an email every six weeks with announcements about books, talks, and events.

SOMETIMES

Receive an email whenever I publish a new artwork or article.

ALL THE TIME

SUPPORT MY ART!

Microdonations are the fuel powering this art machine. You can give once through Ko-fi.

ONE TIME

Or you can give on an ongoing basis automatically through Patreon.

MONTHLY