Today I had meetings planned all over the city, the final being a professional encounter. By the end of the day I was beat from walking and biking back and forth, but it was great. I got some good advice, learned a thing or two, and watched my dog disappoint other dogs.
In order, my meetings:
We have a dog, Nike (nee-kay), who needs to be watched for a week when we (me + husband) go to L.A. for Thanksgiving. This lady we never met has 2 dogs and watches dogs and writes for a living, which seems perfect. The lady, Silvia, is very thorough and wants several dog meetings after today's before she'll take Nike in for a week. I'm happy that she's cautious about her dogs' comfort around Nike and vice versa. The meeting went well- the dogs got along, they were indifferent to each other really. Nike is a dog-introvert so she and Silvia's dogs ran out of things to say to each other immediately, then Nike just awkwardly hung back while the humans talked. The cult of dogs in this city is real. It's like a secret club you get access to when you decide to adopt. People really love their dogs like their children here, so once people see that you're a dog person doors open in a city that is wary of strangers. Your little buddy is basically a walking white flag that tells people that you're chill. Old ladies actually smile in your (dog's) direction and maybe even have a quick chat, your neighbors with dogs acknowledge you(r dog) when you pass each other on the street. Florentines are notoriously hard to make friends with, but I can now proudly say there are a handful of people that will give me a solid "ciao" when our dogs sniff.
Elia, my husband, has a friend from Puglia (F) that when not working is always down to adventure and day-drink, or even just drink 40's on the steps of the church by our house, Santo Spirito. Hear me out, Italian 40's aren't as trashy as American 40's, and everyone drinks on the steps of the church so we're not as trashy as we sound. Anyway, we three had a lunch date in Santo Spirito with the intention to eat good sandwiches and drink wine. The place we chose, a hole in the wall with seating outside, didn't have house wine by the liters so we got a half-liter to start. By the time the Coccoli (fried bread), trippa (tripe in tomato sauce), and my pecorino sandwich with dried tomatoes arrived at our table, we were ready another half. It was really pleasant, there weren't a lot of tourists, just a lot of pigeons that continuously fought Nike for bread crumbs. I brought up my meeting at the graphic studio later on that day. I've been working with them for over a year and wanted to ask for a higher rate for an upcoming project. I don't know how people do that here, I don't know how people do that in general. I think a lot of young women are scared to ask for more in order to avoid offense or conflict, and as a young woman from the Midwest, it's especially difficult for me. Talking about money in the Midwest is like talking about is as tacky as a camo wedding. I've talked to other woman friends about feeling like imposters as well. Like somehow our success or academic accomplishments are not good enough therefore false. Sometimes I feel like it's really hard to demand space when you're suppressing the feeling that everything you've worked for is inexplicably a grift. Creative fields are really competitive, I really believe that internalized sexism all women have to an extent, can sabotage confidence. I say this like I'm above it but, hi, I'm totally not and telling myself that I am talented is something I actively remind myself on a regular basis. Fortunately, today I happened to have a small team to encourage me right before my meeting so I wouldn't chicken out.
As stated before I had worked at this graphic studio, freelance, for over a year. The studio is basically the design department for a fashion brand that you've probably only heard of if you are very rich and you are a man. So, if any exclusive brands came to mind just now, congratulations on your money. Anyway, they typically call me in to work seasonally for the brand's new lookbooks. This job is one of many that I do to make money when I'm not doing my real job, which I consider illustration (fake it til you make it, baby). In the future, I will write a list of all the weird and crap jobs I've done in Italy. Anyway, I don't mind this particular gig, it's basically photo retouching on steroids. The days last more than 8 hours in order to make the printing deadline, which is always tight. After arriving at the studio we begin the very long Italian pleasantries of saying a long hello, making espresso, then smoking a cigarette with everyone (I've practically quit but I have to smoke at the studio or they won't think I'm cool), then we finally get around to talking about the upcoming project. I think I played it cool but ever since I've turned 25 everything that slightly heightens my emotions makes me cry. So of course when it came around to asking for a higher rate I was really fucking emotional and probably did not seem cool at all. Of course, the answer was a coy yes, which made me think on the way out I could have asked for an even higher rate. I have no idea what the rest of the dudes (yes they are all dudes) make in the studio. And by this point, I'm too embarrassed to ask. Did I mention I'm from the Midwest? This whole segment is making me so uncomfortable.
What I'm Working On
Nothing. After finishing my submission for the Bologna Art Fair I am now dealing with a sort of artist's version of empty nest syndrome.