AdviceHey, Bonita!

My Friend’s Artwork Sucks

I have a friend who is a local artist, and she also works a 9-to-5. She makes a lot of art and goes to every local fair, sells her wares and applies for gallery shows. She enters her stuff into competitions and really tries to get her work out there, though she doesn’t really socialize among the artsy crowd here in town. She’s very vocal about supporting the arts and buying locally produced stuff, from food to art by others.

But here’s the thing: She is a terrible artist. Her artwork is just awful! It looks like a child made it, honestly! I’m pretty sure my grandkid has done better work in daycare, but she’ll price her stuff at hundreds of dollars and then freak out when no one buys it. Whenever she loses a competition or leaves a sale empty-handed, we have to hear a giant rant about how this town doesn’t support its artists. Even worse, she’ll claim that it’s a big old “boys club,” and that local established male artists are shutting her out, though none of them even know her! And seriously, her art is way too simple to justify the price tag she often demands.

It’s getting to the point where I don’t even wanna talk to her anymore about art, but she’s trying to drum up extra money this holiday season and seems to think that her art is the way to go. I think she’s setting herself up for disappointment and she should just be a holiday temp at Macy’s. How do I tell my friend that her artsy ship has sailed?


I’m No Rembrandt Either

Unfortunately, this is a lesson your friend will have to learn through experience. Figuring out we’re not meant to do a thing—a creative, expressive, fulfilling thing—can be hard to accept when the endeavor either makes us happy or makes/has made us money. She’s getting all the feedback she needs from the community that her art is not cutting it when she leaves sales and competitions empty-handed. It’s easier to blame the public’s lack of taste or discrimination than the artist’s own shortcomings.

What you feel might be true, but these are not words that one friend should speak to the other. Don’t tell her that her art sucks, but do encourage her towards other money-making ventures. Eventually she’ll realize she’s not meant to make her fortune as a local artist, which, I should mention, is nearly impossible in a town as small, creative and competitive as this one.

I have a friend who lies like crazy to cover his ass. It’s mostly just annoying, since he is way older than someone who should use white lies in such a way, but this is affecting me personally, because we live together. I have recently discovered that he has been lying to me almost habitually about money, saying that he will be late with pay for various bills when really it looks like he is going out several nights each week and shopping online for clothes. This makes me pretty angry, because it affects when our shared expenses can be covered. Even worse: We share a lease, so I feel stuck with him.

At first, the lying was just a confusing part of his personality, but I figured that everyone is a little insecure, and we deal with it in different ways. Now I’m super pissed at this person and his constant shortcomings, which he always backs up with a lie. How can I survive until I can get out of this lease? I am starting to trust this person less and less now that I realize how much he lies—I don’t feel secure in my home anymore, and assume the worst about him always.

I’ve known pathological liars in my time, and they are hard people to love. In my experience, I find that this behavior usually points to something else dysfunctional in his life. This town’s social scene is a lot about posturing, looking cool, being seen. He might be prioritizing that over maintaining the household and, unfortunately, that’s fairly common in Athens.

I recommend you just lock your stuff away so he doesn’t sell it, keep a running tally of the money he owes you, and absolutely refuse to renew the lease with him when the time comes. Living with friends can ruin friendships because we get a peek into who people really are outside of bars and dance parties, so take your relationship back into the public arena. Raise a glass and brunch together, but never live with this person again.

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