Tuesday, August 11, 2009
The amateur artist is free
The young me would have killed me for saying this, but I've come to learn that earning a living from creativity, real creativity, is virtually impossible. And not even all that desirable.
When I was a teenager I wanted to be a professional photographer, but after an internship and such I saw that this would be like becoming a house painter because I liked to paint pictures. Or becoming an airline pilot because I like WWI dog fights. It just had nothing to do with creativity at all. Nothing.
I believe that the very tiny minority of, say, fine arts painters who earn a good living off their work for most part does so out of luck. They style was pushed by the galleries and hit a nerve with the fine-art buying audience, who for most part buy as investments, not because they understand the art.
Now, I'm lucky and I make a good living at something fun and have time left over to fiddle with my own art. This is a great thing because it means that I'm not screwed if the art public changes taste, or they don't like a new direction I'm going in, or I just hit a dry spot for a year or two.
I won't lie to you, it has taken a lot of internal work for me to get over the mental identification between "successfully making art" and "financial success as an artist". But I'm getting there, and it feels very freeing.