What a strange profession I am in! Is there any other carreer or job besides being an artist that one works in because its the only way one has any time to do it? Most artists love their work. I sure love to create things. But I can't help wondering, How the heck did I end up an artist? And why?
Being an artist is almost always a really a lousy career. Few people are very successful at it financially. I know of a few, and amongst those few at least half feel they have sold out, or aren't really doing what they want to do. I suppose if one can make it work it's pretty priceless. And how does one go about becoming a 'sucessful' professional artist? Should I hire my own business manager like Schnabel? Should I tote bad reproductions of my work to all the galleries on the west coast? Should I go back to full time illustration and make someones images in a two week turnaround? Should I get a desk job and paint two nights a week and on the weekend? Should I take on any job that uses any sort of creativity? Should I move to New York? Should I scale down my paintings and and sell prints on Etsy? (actually I plan to open an Etsy shop soon for selling prints, as well as toting my bad reproductions down to LA where I think I'd have more luck matching my art to a welcoming gallery but why why why?).
Why? Why do we do it? Is there nothing else I'm good at? I don't remember being 5 years old and saying "I want to be an artist". I guess we just paint and paint and paint and eventually start to sell the paintings because they are piling up in the garage/bedroom/livingroom/shed, and after all, eating is nice, as is buying more art supplies to support this habit.
Some guy from Freecycle wrote to ask me why my handle (on Freecycle) was ArtWithoutReason. I think I scared him because he never responded to the somewhat lengthy account I gave as a reason. But seriously- there is enough art in this world. California is up to her pretty neck in artists! They are like a poor plauge on this coast. And beauty? There is enough beauty in the world- the world itself is amazingly beautiful. And my 'vision'? Is it so necessary to add another persons ideas or outlook or vision to the world? Has art ever REaaLLy had an impact? Changed peoples way of seeing for the better? Should I do somehing just because I do it well or even better than some other people?
So why the heck be a professional artist? What do you think?
While you are considering this question please enjoy these completely unrelated photographs of summer with a toddler.