In recent months I've had the chance to talk to a few artist friends about some of the struggles that come with being a freelance/full-time artist. These conversations really opened my mind to some of the common assumptions people make about the way artists work and their creations too. The main problem with these assumptions is that they are PARTIALLY true, but do not paint the entire picture. This leaves hard working artists feeling under valued, and sometimes disrespected. Knowing this, lets clear up some of these thoughts and expose some truths about being a full time artist!!
1. Artists create out of love, not for money:
This concept came from a seasoned and successful artist I recently befriended. It's a common misconception that seemed to emerge as a reason to argue against paying large amounts for artwork, and it's still around because it is actually partially true. Artists ARE driven to create by their love of art and enjoy painting, drawing, or sculpting. Their profession is supported by their passion for creativity and the fulfillment of their souls!! Artists throw themselves into their pieces (sometimes literally!) sharing with the world bits and pieces of who they are through their art, and they love it! However, Individuals often forget that an artist’s work is not just a hobby. Their art is what they love, but it’s also their livelihood too. If your buying a piece of art, your also buying hundreds of work hours, and supply expenses that go into it! If the artist doesn't sell they don’t eat, buy clothes, or pay rent. So the truth of the matter is that an artist creates out of love, but needs money to survive just like everyone else.
2. It’s ALWAYS fun:
HAHAHAHAHAHA…oh boy…yeah, no it’s not. Despite whatever Facebook and Instagram say, there are frustrations involved with being an artist that make it just like any other job out there. Art isn’t just magically created (although it seems that way sometimes!), and the process of creation isn’t what I’d call smooth. It’s as bumpy as a wooden roller-coaster! There are great days and then terrible days, and since an artist (especially an emerging artist) has to wear multiple hats to run their business, they deal with the complications of not only one profession, but many! On a daily basis I have to be Artist, Marketer, Social media Manager, Content Writer, Researcher, Graphic Designer, Website Administrator and Secretary. It’s a wonder I get anything done! If anything, being an artist requires a mind that can handle doing multiple things. Yes, this does make us different, but the base components are similar, which means we have our bad days too. Like any other Job, we get in and ride the coaster with our hands up and sometimes it's not fun at all!
3. Working from home is a luxury:
This was something recently brought up by an admirer, and I can see why they would say this. The idea of working from home is a luxury in other people’s eyes because they see it as a relaxing form of work. You create your own schedule, be your own boss and do what you want. Heck, you can wear pajamas all day if you like! If you ever thought that’s what working from home is like you’d be right AND wrong at the same time. Being your own boss and setting your own hours basically translates to: YOU HAVE TO MOTIVATE YOURSELF & BE ON CALL 24/7. There’s no immediate consequence to working unproductively. While this does leave you to work at your own pace, it also leaves all the decision making up to you, and you ALONE. You won’t get fired, you don’t have a boss who tells you what to do, but you will have to drag yourself out of bed every morning by your own will and work weekends. Owning your own business or working from home might be more lenient when it comes to dress code and flexibility, but you have to be extremely self-disciplined to achieve any success.
I don't want anyone to feel poor if they've made assumptions like these. Nor am I innocent of assuming things either. We all make assumptions about others!! I just don't want our knowledge of one another to stop there. Also, I am definitely grateful for the Job I have as an artist and truly consider myself blessed, but sometimes people forget all the hard work and struggle that goes into creating each piece of art. So remember, artists work very hard because we love art, but also because we have to make ends meet too. We don't always have fun even though it sure sounds like fun to others (the grass is always greener right?). Finally, working from home is SOMETIMES a luxury, and we are grateful for the opportunity to live out our passions each and every day.