Ugh. I shudder to think the number of times I've been told throughout my creative life that you can't make money being an artist. Yet, I look around my circle of friends, and creative networks, and see a lot of successful 'artsy' people making lots of cool stuff YOU want to buy. I would like to clarify the top five misconceptions of artists (in my opinion), and start clearing the air. Ready?
Brutal Misconception No. 1: Artists Are Broke (so broke, they're in two pieces).
Okay. The 'starving' artist. Why is that always the first thing people picture in their heads when you picture an artist? An unwashed, matted hair wearing, uber thin, 'makes skinny jeans look like a pair of sweats' kind of person? Not true! In most cases anyway.
I'm connected to a lot of artists all over this beautiful world, and honestly, not one is living in an alley painting on cardboard. They're all gainfully employed, or self-employed, and living nice lives. In fact, most artists I know also start off the New Year resolving to lose weight.
Starving? Not. Now, there may be some artists who are really into living that perception, and eek out a minimal lifestyle. But it's a choice. With all the ways to make money (legally) out there, I see no reason to keep perpetuating the 'starving artist' misconception. It's not romantic. It's stupid.
Brutal Misconception No. 2: Artists are KRAZY.
Yah, okay. So, van Gogh cut off his ear willingly for a chic. And Andy Warhol made a movie about a blow job, and Mr. Tiger Blood, Charlie Sheen, had a Mega Warlock induced multi-media melt down in front of millions of his fans...but, c'mon. That doesn't mean I'm off my nut rushing around slicing off body parts and giving bjs drenched in tiger blood. As a matter of fact, for an 'artist' I'm pretty boring. I'm not addicted to anything mind altering, and though I may have several piercings, I do not have any tatts at this point. That could change in a New York minute...depending on my mood, but I'm just saying that while my husband may disagree at times, for the most part - I'm not Krazy. You can't work a full time job AND build a full time art business if you're nuts. It may feel like Krazy, but it's not.
Brutal Misconception No. 3: Artists are Moody.
Okay, I'll agree to that. We are. There is something about the 'creative' individual that inspires daily melt downs over things like personal space, and rages against machinations of the desperate societal machine. But that level of moodiness is no different to a trial attorney giving a passionate closing argument, or the oily politician imploring his constituents with low-cal promises of transformation. Puh-lease.
Artists tend to implode emotionally, rather than explode like everyone else. That’s why we’re moody.
Misconception No. 4: Artists are Flakey.
Yes. It’s true. Not all artists are flakey, but enough of us are. Hi. I'm flakey. But let me clarify there’s a real difference between just plain stupid, and flakey. Stupid is unthinking. Flakey is forgetting. Stupid generates little to no successful firing of synapses, while flakey has so much going on, it’s hard to herd stampeding ideas into logical silos of thought.
I do forget things. And sometimes thinking outside the box on a hysterical moments notice can be challenging; however, I do eventually come up with solutions.
Misconception No. 5: Artists are Terrible Business People
Not true. While I may not have an MBA, I do have two degrees. And though my degrees may not be business-centric, they are proof that I have the discipline and the balls to go after what I want. And with so many resources available at my fingertips – people, articles, books, interviews, workshops, podcasts – I have learned how to build a start-up business that is thriving, and is projected to grow double this year.
So, for anyone who hasn’t met an artist in person but imagines us a legion of smelly, under fed, cardboard painting specimens with severe cases of rectaloptosis – think again. We’re thriving people who know what we want, how to get it, and…
We are living among you.
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