Do you have a day job? What is it?
I am the registrar at an online art auction company that specializes mainly in Chinese art. I also photograph their ads and during big sales, and am the cataloger for the fine art and prints we receive.
Do the people you work with know you are a photographer?
Yes, it's one of the main reasons I got this job, but I'm not sure if they actually know what my work is like. We don't really talk about it, they just know I can teach people.
Does the work you do during the day affect your personal work?
Yes, it's slightly bittersweet. I've become way less interested in contemporary photography and the work I see online, and as a result, I haven't really been able to "seriously" shoot. I've been working, but it's just been slowly piling up into who knows what. A friend recently asked me if I was going to update my website anytime soon, and the thought kind of grossed me out. I like making work for myself right now without the pressure of having to appeal to a constant audience.
On the other hand, I never thought I would have the knowledge or interest in the works we received on consignment. In terms of painting, we mostly receive Hudson River School paintings, but lately I've been cataloging works by Duchamp, Pollock, Masaji Yoshida, and Helen Frankenthaler. Currently one of Louise Nevelson's 'Plant' sculptures is sitting on my desk. I'm just happy that every day I get to go to a day job where I'm surrounded by art, and am still challenging myself to learn and grow with this opportunity.
I feel like we fall into things that really change our perspective on what we want and need in terms of a career.
If you could rearrange your time, what would be the ideal balance between your personal and professional work?
More vacation time, or the flexibility to do residencies because I could have a job that I allowed me to telecommute. A day job that operates on summer hours year round so that I could get out at four instead of six, and still feel like making work. Being able to not have to work a forty hour week, but still be able to support myself financially. My issue right now is that for almost two years now I've been struggling between work vs art vs social life, and how do I facilitate that balance? It's hard because I feel like I'm being split in three directions, and up until recently, the making work part of my life was being put to the back burner.
Images: Alana Celii
Note: Alana send these in that were taken at her workplace. To see personal work, please visit her website