Do I Have to Be a Fulltime Artist to Be a Real Artist?

1 Jun

Given what we’ve discussed in the last two articles, The Question That Never Goes Away and Another Question That Never Goes Away   – you probably have a pretty good idea of what the answer to this one will be, but let’s talk about it.

Time invested in doing well at what you do is the critical factor in achieving success. Sophie and Rose by Steve Henderson of Steve Henderson Fine Art

For some reason, people have the idea that if an individual does something part-time, or if he doesn’t make a killing on doing it, then he’s not really whatever it is that he’s doing. By this definition, the volunteer firefighters in many rural communities who put their lives on the line protecting people and property aren’t really firefighters.

Or substitute teachers – what would school systems do without these people? – aren’t really teachers.

Our nuclear physicist – who works part-time because of family obligations – isn’t a real nuclear physicist.

Bit absurd, isn’t it?

But it’s understandable, since an artist doesn’t depend upon a degree, certification, title, or job description to be an artist. He can have those things, or not; and having them doesn’t ensure that he is an artist.

Artists make art.

They don’t talk about making art; they don’t emote about making art; they don’t wax eloquent about making art – people who do that, and stop there, are artistes not artists.

True artists do spend a lot of time creating – the Norwegian Artist paints, others sculpt, work with wood, brass, clay, and beyond the visual arts we have dancers, writers, actors, if I miss one please don’t yell at me, but what they have in common is that they create new things from whatever materials they have on hand, and they’re pretty serious about doing it well and consistently.

A number of these people, who have day jobs on the side, actually do work full time at being artists — in addition to working full or part-time elsewhere. The goal of many is to drop that day job and exchange it for full time in the studio, and many of them manage this, but those who don’t, or those who are in the process of getting there, are by no means not artists. It’s time invested, not money made, that is a stronger determination of a person’s commitment to being an artist.


4 Responses to “Do I Have to Be a Fulltime Artist to Be a Real Artist?”

  1. pretentiousfamewhore June 1, 2012 at 6:06 pm #

    true that.

  2. iangoldsmith June 1, 2012 at 8:59 pm #

    Great blog. What we do for a living isn’t what we are. Thanks for sharing.

    • middleagedplague June 4, 2012 at 5:56 pm #

      How right you are, Ian — what we are is a compendium of so many things.

  3. iangoldsmith June 1, 2012 at 9:01 pm #

    Probably should have added a “necessarily” in between “isn’t” and “what” there 🙂

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