On the job
Artist struggles to turn talent into livelihood

by Ralph Plath
Northern News Services

WRIGLEY (Mar 20/97) - Wrigley artist Darcy Moses has been painting for as long as he can remember.

Over the years he's sold many paintings but not enough to work as a full-time artist. So Moses has to supplement his artistic endeavors by working as a laborer.

Moses says he'd prefer to concentrate on his talent, but he's found, like many other artists, that it's not easy.

"It's hard to sell," he says. "It's easier to paint."

Moses sells his paintings by travelling to other communities and showing them around. He says he's forced to sell his art this way because galleries won't accept his works.

"Most galleries only buy art from certain artists," he explains.

And art shows are out of the question since Moses says he doesn't have the means to get to them.

"It gets frustrating," he admits. "How am I supposed to get well-known if I can't get the support?"

Moses also criticizes the Deh Cho First Nations for not giving artists the support they need.

"I'd like to see something going on in the Deh Cho, like a show," he says. "Leaders are always talking but I haven't seen anything done yet." Moses says he's received some money from the government to buy art supplies but it's not enough to keep him going.

So he continues to try to get the best price he can out on the streets. Current works he's created have a price tag of up to $450. But it can be a tough sell, even though they are original pieces.

"Sometimes people treat me like a drunk," he says. "I don't like that."

Moses says he's thought about giving up, like many artists he knows. He's even thrown paintings in the garbage out of frustration, but he says he just can't put down his paintbrush.

"It's in me," he explains. "I'm good with the brush, I guess. It keeps me out of trouble and it puts food on the table."