Arts Creativity

So you want to be an artist …

“Don’t give up the day job. Perhaps your authentic self is the accountant.”

Who doesn’t see themselves as the movie producer, author, or famous musician?  We all have dreams to make a living from creativity.

Simon Kuper argues that some people are better off working in an office at the computer rather than with an art pallet in the studio.

Art is heart work  

It requires great practice, persistence, and skill.  Few ever get recognized.  While it may be fulfilling, it doesn’t pay the bills.  Art is also insanely competitive in the digital economy.  Not only are you going up against other artists but you’re also fighting a world of hyper-connected self-marketing amafessionals with a ton of free marketing and digital tools.

Apps like Instagram and Fifty Three can make anyone look like a professional photographer or painter.  Garageband turns anyone into a music producer.  It’s no wonder that people actually believe they can quit their day job and make a living from their art.  Artist Hugh MacLeod calls these pipe dreams the “The Sex & Cash Theory.”

In all likeliness, you’re not going to be the next Pablo Picasso or Ai Weiwei.  You can still sell a few ebooks on Amazon or digital prints on Etsy but you’re best and most profitable work belongs in the office.  Sometimes the lizard brain ”holding you back” is right.

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By Wells Baum

Wells Baum is a daily blogger who writes about Life & Arts. He's also the author of and four books.