There is a widely accepted myth circulating in our society that being an artist, especially a fine artist, is not a real profession. For many years now the profession of artist has been diluted, undervalued and misunderstood. In fact, most artistic people have been told that they must have a back up occupation because “you cannot possibly make it as an artist.” So they get a degree or choose a career path in something besides art!
Do you believe the myth that you cannot make a living as an artist? As a result, do you have another career or job instead of being an artist full time?
Artist and author Caroll Michels asks this compelling question: “Has a law student ever been advised to take a lot of education courses to have something to fall back on?”
I know that when I decided to get a business degree with an emphasis in accounting, I was never counseled to have a backup degree just in case I couldn’t make a ‘go’ of accounting or business! Yet, again and again, artists are encouraged to have a backup plan.
To make matters worse, the creative fields of art and music have been removed altogether from many school curriculum’s making it nearly impossible to get a well rounded education and foundation in the arts. These days there is a great deal of emphasis (not to mention financial support) placed upon the technical almost to the exclusion of the artistic. With this emphasis has come the belief that art is not a valid profession or stable enough to warrant anyone being a full time artist, unless of course they choose to go into the more traditional role of a teacher in a school or university environment.
But what of the artists who do not wish to teach or for that matter work for someone else? What about all the wonderfully gifted, talented artists who are meant to express in their art and make a living at it?
I am of the firm belief that you can make a living, a comfortable, if not substantial living as an artist – yes, even against all odds – so my guidance would be to do it anyway