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the WorkForce

By MichaelBilottaPhotography    
A rather personal piece for me.

There are very few of us with a need to create and produce art that manage to turn that need, that desire, into a sustainable career. Of those that manage it, still fewer of those lucky souls manage to create art for themselves, all on their own terms, without some outside influence dictating direction or changes. Therefore, we get the day gig. We get the job that is there to finance our real lives, and keep the bills paid. The tradeoff is well-known and common: the soul-sucking job leeches most of your time better spent focusing on your art, and leaves you with very little time and energy to get back to what you are doing it all for in the first place.

First as a musician, and now a visual artist, I have been doing this double life for over 20 years, and there are days, weeks, even years where I wonder how I can keep it up, and to this day, there is no apparent end in sight. I know I am not alone, not by a long shot. I work in an office environment. I work in a cubicle. I have not slept well in over 20 years because my right brain is nocturnal, but the corporate world is very much operating from the left hemisphere. The danger in taking the day job is that it can kill the artistic endeavor it is meant to sustain, like a slow and deepening frost to a struggling sapling. It is easy to give up, and it takes constant vigilance and re-dedication to keep the output alive. Of course, most of us would agree that it is not an option; the need is there, and it defines you and becomes you. But, there is a full one-half of my life that is depressing, frustrating, and mind-numbing. It cannot become a career, it must stay a job because if it deepens into a career, it would take still more mental space and more precious time away from what I consider a higher purpose.

This image, therefore, with its blunt title and stark, Stepford-like worker drones, becomes rather obvious. Certainly the visuals make it all seem dystopian and menacing, but in a way, it IS like that, at least to me. I feel I am donning another personís clothing and persona, and I am an unwilling imposter in this cubicle hell, which discourages individuality and rewards Borg-esque assimilation. It is time-driven, it is relentless, and there are times I want to scream and just quit. But none of this would be here without it, and that, for now, is the cost of doing what you love with the little time left to it, after the work day, after the hostile commutes, after all other concerns are put to bed and the chores completed.

This was, naturally, done in the wee hours of the work week, deep into the night, when the body wants sleep, but the mind is restless and still eager and youthful in its desire to create something out of nothing.

Thanks for reading and viewing.

Model: Gilberto Mendez

Tags: Specialist and abstract Digitally manipulated Digital art Portraits and people Flash and lighting

Voters: NDODS, phonocar, Merbert and 23 more

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NDODS 7 5.1k 125 United Kingdom
14 Oct 2012 1:51AM
Wonderful words Michael, and an image which generates many notions and ideals.

Regards Nathan

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Hermanus 5 4 South Africa
14 Oct 2012 5:18AM
Your work really stands out to me Michael - and yes ! I understand hell in the cubicle and the stranglehold of having to do the respectable and normative thing that strangles the creative being you were meant to be Smile
Your work really inspires me to get photoshop or something similar and become more creative with what I loveSmile
DeSilver Plus
10 14 12 England
14 Oct 2012 9:02AM
Great picture. I like the way that you have blank the eyes of everyone in the background. Blind following!

fazzer 8 54 7 United Kingdom
14 Oct 2012 9:03AM
Cracking image it conveys your well felt feelings very well,love your imagesSmile
14 Oct 2012 9:07AM
RLF Plus
8 18 4 United Kingdom
14 Oct 2012 9:09AM
Brilliantly conceived & presented piece of artGrin
tonyheps 15 6 1
14 Oct 2012 5:24PM
Fabulous imaginative shot - don't let thr Bu----s get you down!

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