How did you get into debt?
I never learned good financial habits. In college the credit card companies started to prey upon me and so began a debt cycle that I've yet to come out of. I have a job, but at some points I have had to borrow money or use credit cards to make ends meet. I also have a student loan and a car loan. The interest on all of these debts is big and growing bigger - I pay out more money than I take in.
How does your economic reality effect your art?
With respect to the institutional Art World, in order to be considered a "real artist," there are many road blocks for people who don't come from generational wealth. First off, you're expected to go to school, and these days, undergrad is not enough. If you're privileged enough to get into a good school, you will probably incur lots of student loan debt. Once out of school, you can't work a 9-to-5 job otherwise you're not considered a serious artist. You must afford a studio space in order to progress in your practice. Even if you get a job in the arts, the sector is extremely competitive and low-paying. You're probably using credit cards to help make ends meet. For artists who are actually "successful" in terms of the market, selling work is an ongoing struggle, whether you've got representation or not. Anyone who wants to be an artist, who didn't come from money to begin with (and even some of those), will incur much debt. As far as my own personal story goes, according to the institutional norms, I'm not considered a "real artist."
Would your work look different if you weren't in debt?:
Perhaps my work would look different if I didn't have debt (meaning that I would be able to maintain more of the money that I make). Right now I work from home, so as an oil painter, I have to keep my scale quite small Maybe if I had a studio I would paint larger - and maybe I would experiment more with other mediums.