We had the good fortune of connecting with Chuck Roach and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Chuck, how has your work-life balance changed over time?
Pre-civilization humans did not have much distinction between life and work. I think we are all striving to get back to that state of being. My “work-life,” balance slowly evolved from employee (teacher) working for the state of Texas, to independent artist working for myself. At the age of 53, I qualified for full retirement—meaning I would get a check each month just because I was alive. This money covered my basic expenses so I could focus on art. Any professional artist will tell you that even at the best of times, art sales income is sporadic. Some reliable source of money is essential for true creativity to flourish. This concept is the source of our common verbal meme, “starving artist.” 

Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I have an unusual technique that kind of evolved on it’s own over the years. No artist has ever used it before, so my work is very recognizable. It’s not for everybody, but it pleases my brain in some way. This is my advice to young artists—If I like my work, that is all that matters. I can’t be too concerned about what any single customer thinks. No matter how good you think your work is, somebody will disagree. When that happens, your discomfort is directly proportional to how much you care what others think! Stagnation is the bane of art. When I feel stagnant, I try to visit an art museum or at least spend some time looking at art books. As an independent artist, I am my own boss, so I have to be a mean one. Art is a job, and not always fun! Whether I feel like it or not, I go to my studio and do something. Clean up. Build a frame—etc. My favorite art quote—which I have seen attributed to Chuck Close. “Inspiration is for amateurs. The rest of us just get up and go to work.”

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I don’t live in the city! I live in the sticks, in West Texas. Have you ever visited Brewster County Texas? It is a six hour drive from my house, but I go there each year on the first Saturday in November for the CASI Chili Cookoff. It was canceled this year because of COVID, but I went anyway, to camp in the desert for four days with friends. Terlingua, Lajitas, and Study Butte are small towns on the border between Texas and Mexico. You can do a raft trip down the Rio Grande, visit Big Bend National Park, or have a few drinks at, “The Kiva,” a local underground bar. I am often surprised at how many lifelong Texans have not visited this part of the state.

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I taught at the same high school for 28 years, so I was teaching the children of early students before I retired. Approximately 2400 students passed through my classroom during my career, and a high percentage of that number still live in this area. These students make up a large part of my customer base. That support has eased my transition to full time artist.

Website: roach-art.com
Facebook: Chuck Roach

Image Credits
I took these photos (Chuck Roach)

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