Whenever I log into Facebook I always look at my memories page. It’s interesting to see something I posted years ago. Sometimes it’s bittersweet. I’ll read a comment, or see a like, from a good friend or family member who has since passed away.
The other day I found something notable on my memories page. It was something I posted back in 2018 about how artists sometimes have to deal with people who disrespect them and refuse to pay them a fair price for their services. One man commented that perhaps the problem was supply and demand. He thought there were simply too many artists out there. Therefore, we should give up our art.
Everyone is entitled to their opinion. However, it doesn’t necessarily mean the person who is giving their opinion is right.
My arts are writing and photography. They are my life’s passions. My art is what defines me as a human being. It’s what gives my life its meaning and purpose. Other artists, whether they be writers, musicians, actors, or painters, will tell you the same.
The Myth that Artists are Merely Hobbyists
It’s age-old misconception that way too many people seem to embrace. Art is nothing more than a hobby. People who are serious about earning a living need to get a “real job.” Whatever a real job is.
Some artists are lucky. They’re able to make a living full time with their art. Or they may find a career where they can use their artistic skills, such as a copywriter or graphic designer at an advertising agency. Most, however, will have to find a day job, and they are not alone. There are teachers, office workers, and others who have to work second jobs in order to make ends meet. So why are they not called, “hobbyists?”
They Would Be if They Could Be
There are some who get into the arts, not to express themselves, but because they want to become rich and famous. I recall once talking to a man who told me he was going to write a book, but he refused to tell me what his book was about. All he would say was he had come up with an idea that was so unique no one in human history had ever thought of it before. Therefore, his book was going to be a runaway bestseller. Hollywood would want to buy the screen rights to his story. This was why he couldn’t tell me what his book was about. If he told me, I would steal it from him.
Sometimes it’s hard to keep a straight face. I asked him how far along was he in writing his book. He said he hadn’t started writing it yet. Of course he hadn’t. No surprise there. So I wished him the best of luck. He will need it.
The man was a total fake. Real artists aren’t trying to impress anyone. They’re much too busy creating their art. The others, the ones who would-be if they could-be, are just blowing hot air about what they’re going to do. Someday. When they have the time. Right now they’re just too busy. I’ll give the man credit. He became the inspiration for a feature article called, The Author Myth, which is posted above the blog banner.
Some people do enjoy dabbling in art simply because they enjoy it. To them it’s strictly a hobby. They’re not interested in becoming professionals, and that’s okay too. However, they should never be confused with other artists who are professionals and are paid for their work, even if they have other jobs.
So What Defines an Artist?
An artist is someone who creates art because it’s their life’s calling. They will do whatever they have to do, including working day jobs, to pay the bills so they can continue being artists.
I consider myself an artist. As I mentioned before, my art happens to be fine art photography and writing contemporary romance novels. I’m an author with a good following. I also created my own publishing company, Good Oak Press, LLC. Many of my fellow independent authors have done the same.
We’re in this gig because writing is our life’s passion. We’ve put many, many years of blood, sweat and tears into learning our craft and becoming the people we are. As far as we’re concerned, anyone who thinks we should, “give up our art and get a real job,” is woefully ignorant.