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02 May, 2009

Being an Artist is a Privilege

Posted by: admin In: Art News Blog

Robert Genn’s latest Painter’s Keys newsletter is an interesting one. He replies to a letter from artist Tom Lockhart talking about how being an artist can be tough. Tom wrote the following to Robert..

“I work 50 to 65 hours per week, teach workshops and serve on the Board of a Local Arts Center. I judge art shows and travel to locations to paint. I earn $75,000.00 to $100,000.00 annually–too much to get a grant. I pay more than my share of taxes, expense out what the law allows and still find it difficult to make ends meet. I’m constantly paying entry fees, dues, advertising, framers, suppliers and travel expenses. I can’t understand why the public insists on buying cheap, crappy art from poorly educated artists who suffer for their craft. Yuk! There are constantly retired lawyers, doctors, architects, dentists and other professionals who decide to become painters. They put their work in galleries and sell to the unsophisticated, taking sales away from deserving, serious artists. And now with the economic bad times, it’s even harder to sell your art. What do you think about this?”

See Robert’s reply here. He basically says things aren’t so bad as you are an artist!

I couldn’t agree more. Being an artist is a privilege that should be appreciated. Listening to an artist complain about being an artist is like listening to someone with 5 Ferraris complain about not having 6 Ferraris. The quickest way to shut me up if I’m ever whinging about being an artist is to tell me to go get a 9 to 5 job.

I’m not saying that being an artist doesn’t have it’s ups and downs, but look at the alternatives. Take an office job or get into sales for a while if being an artist ever becomes a chore. If you really are an artist you’ll quickly come running back to the studio and the many privileges of being an artist.

I never feel sorry for struggling artists as it’s hard to have any sympathy for a person with the equivalent of 5 Ferraris in the garage. I don’t care if you can’t pay the rent or you’re tired of eating 2 minute noodles.. you’re an artist!

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