I have always hated the term “Starving Artist”. It makes me think of so many things. Like, why are they starving? Are they actually starving, or just a bit hungry? Are we using the term starving to mean something else? How are they buying paint if they don’t have money to eat? Did they think that they could eat paint if they got too hungry and just blow their money on supplies? There are really just too many questions with that. In addition to this creating so many questions, it is really stupid.
There are actually people that think that you don’t have passion as an artist if you aren’t willing to suffer for your art. There are people who really think that you aren’t a real artist unless creating art is your only job. There are even people that think that art is simply a hobby and it can’t be taken seriously as a profession. Most of the assumptions above are totally incorrect, and I can tell you why. I am an artist. I have been an active artist for many years, and I am and consider myself to be a full-time artist. The funny thing is that my main sustainable income does not come from art. I have a full-time job other than my art.
I know! I realize I just got a gasp and guffaw from the peanut gallery of the imaginary elite for saying that I was an artist while in the same breath expressing that life has to continue and my basic needs must be met before art is a possibility. YES, you heard it right…Your BASIC NEEDS must be met BEFORE you can engage in art. There is a reason that they are called basic needs. This means you need food, water, shelter, rest, safety, friends, family, some form of intimacy, esteem, and THEN you can go forward with self-actualization and creativity. Not before! People like to try to skip those steps. However, if you skip those steps just to get a limited supply of art supplies and no source for inspiration you are being foolish.
People are able to be more creative and more inspired if they are living. I literally have never seen a dead person creating anything…other than fertilizer. I will be perfectly honest about things; I have two full time jobs. My full-time job in the daytime where I am able to support myself and my child, meet all of my primal basic needs, and ALSO fund my 2nd full-time job…ART. See what I did there? I am using a job that I actually enjoy to make money to fund a job where I make money but have to put in another type of work for it to pay off.
I can put your fears to rest. I understand that people who only do art may have more time to do art. Are they really using all of their time for that? I know that even with my day job, my marketing plan, my blog, my consulting, my teaching, and my actual artwork I am creating work that can and HAS competed heavily with full-time artists work who don’t have other things that they are working on. This means that my art has been proven to be as good if not better than artists who only do art for their job. I am not lessening anyone who is doing art as their only job, I have seen some amazing things from artists all around the world, but I recognize that I can’t really tell the difference in art that someone was only able to spend an hour a week on and art that someone spent 40 hours a week on. I believe in taking your time for a creation, but people generally don’t know how much time was really spent. They know what you have told them.
My point is really this; don’t get too caught up in the ‘idea’ of what an artist really is. Artists can have different skills, sometimes skills that are better than their art. Artists can use the “other side” of their brains. Artists can be doctors, teachers, cashiers, lawyers, and all sorts of other things. Artists should be dynamic and adaptable because life is where we should be drawing our inspiration from. The elements of your life and your art don’t have to be a struggle. Trust me there are a lot of ways to struggle even if you have food, shelter, and money. You don’t get your ‘edge’ from being hungry or poor. Being homeless doesn’t add to your ‘mystique’. That ‘edge’ or ‘fire’ is something that you either have naturally or you don’t.
So, don’t be an idiot…be a well fed artist instead.
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