Sunday, July 13, 2014

The Hard Truths about Being an Artist

First I want to say that I love doing what I'm doing! But I also want people, and future artists, to understand what the reality of being an Artist is. What we go through while pursuing our dream. Some of this applies to me and some of it applies to other artists on their own journey.  But most of this, is my own opinion. If you are an artist and would like to add to my list, please feel free to leave a message! I love to hear from you!

Things to think about when thinking about buying handmade original art/craft.

10 Truths about being an artist:  
    (20 would probably be more truthful)
1. Artists create art because it's their means of expression, but often it is their livelihood.
   1b. If an artist works at home, it is still a job.
2. It takes a lifetime of experimenting and exploring. We never stop learning and changing.
3. Many artist undersell themselves just to get a sale.
4. Artists have bills to pay...hence the reason for #3.
   4b. ...waiting for a sale to get regular paycheck.
5. Creating artwork involves purchasing supplies.
   5b. Selling artwork involves even more expenses.
6. Many artists work late nights (after their day jobs to pay the bills and buy supplies).
   6b. Most artwork takes many hours to is not just slapping some paint on a canvas.
7. 99% (my guest-imate) of artists are not independently wealthy.
8. Artists must pay taxes, license fees, etc. for doing business.
9. Artists do not have factories in China or India to churn out thousands of reproductions...well some do and you can buy their art at discount stores, usually cheaply made...not original.
10. Custom artwork should be paid what it is worth...the artist's time, expense, and expertise.
     10b. Would you bargain with your plumber, electrician, carpenter? Don't ask for a life-size mural on a mini budget!

Joys of being an artist:
1. Creating unique, one of kind art that people enjoy!
2. Working when inspiration hits (if you are lucky not to have to work another job...or two)!
3. The enjoyment of experimenting and exploring!
4. Buying new art supplies! (it really feels like Christmas to get new supplies!)
5. Freedom of expression through art!
6. Having artsy fartsy friends that understand you!
7. Making a sale!
8. Getting paid for that sale!
9. Making enough to pay your expenses and bills!
10. Being your own boss!

If you can relate, then you must be an artist, craftsmen, or other creative individual trying to make your dreams come true.  My advice to you is to keep going! It may take time. I taught high school art for 29 years before I could even dream about quitting my day job! But I still need to work and I enjoy working. I work 7 days a week, sometimes 8-12 hours, but I can take breaks to play with my Sophie or run to the art supply store, if I need to!

If you are still reading...
...please think about buying from an artist this year. Go to galleries and art festivals and find ones that you like and enjoy. They make great gifts too!

Thank you to those of you who already support handmade craftsmen/craftswomen!!!



  1. So true, so true! Before I became an artist, I thought the price of original artwork was ridiculous! After becoming an artist, I fully understand why they are priced the way they are.

    If I may, I would add one more thing:

    11. Artists have feelings too, so don't say in front of the artist that your little 5-year old could draw that picture just as good or better. Not only is it rude, but you have no idea the number of hours the artist put into the creation of the picture. If you don't like it and have no constructive criticism to offer, it is better not to say anything.

    Love the article Beth!!!! ((hugs))

    ~ Nancy

  2. Oh, so true! Great #11! Thanks for adding that Nancy!
    Good to hear from you Nancy!
    Hugs back at ya!


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