Have a little faith in me (An artist’s rant…)

Over the weekend, I had what I consider to be a dangerous and disturbing conversation in what I consider to be a trend of dangerous and disturbing conversations of late.

It always starts the same way:

I mention that I am an artist and that one day, ideally I’d like to make a living that way.

The person freezes for a moment to process and then the person I’m talking to gets that look.

The you are a moron look, what the hell is wrong with you look.

Followed by 12 seconds of “Oooooooooh…..”

“Do you know how hard it is? You will be poor for the rest of your life. How delusional are you? “

In short, you want to be an artist, what the hell is wrong with you?

I have had friends whose parents destroyed their art, threw away their note books and told them in no uncertain terms, if they want to be an artist, they won’t have parents.

My question is why? Because it’s hard and a waste of time? Because I won’t make it.

Well to that I say…..
Life is hard.

Being a doctor is hard. Most things worth pursuing are hard. Does this mean you shouldn’t give it a try? And what if you don’t make it nationally, if you are only a local artist, or don’t make it until you are dead? What is making it anyway? If it it a fulfilling hobby that isn’t harmful to a person, shouldn’t it be encouraged.

I am reminded of my teen years, when my friends and I used to get in trouble with the cops because we would walk around town starring at stars (mine you we were 18 and had no state curfew) and discussing life’s mysteries. Still, every time would walk around, the cops would pull over and hassle us. This enraged me because I came from a small town and they knew us. We could have been drinking, doing drugs, sleeping around, things that may be harmful to a person, instead, we spent our time productively exploring the universe.Still, because we were easy to harass. We were docile and available.

It’s the same with art. I could be doing a hundred different destructive things with my life but instead, I decided to channel my life in a productive way. What is so wrong with that?Some people play DnD.Some people build cars.I write.

Life and worth isn’t based on money.
Hey I get it, you need money to live. And having a stable job does make it easier. However, many artist, most artist, such as I, do have a full-time job. We make money during the day and at night and on weekend, we are warriors, typing away in our dungeons.

But if I, an adult, decide with my life to pursue art with no thought of money, isn’t that my choice to make? Does accumulating wealth make life more worth-while?

Should people never be missionaries, nuns or priests because they don’t make money? What you contribute to this world, I hope can be measure in more than dollars and cents.

Art isn’t about money.

I was a college athletic. And let me tell you, by the time you reach college, playing sports becomes a lot less fun. You have no free time, between class, practice, conditioning and games. You come home late at night from a game and have to stay up for hours doing homework then have to wake up early for practice or class. And repeat day after day.

There are times you hate it, hate the thing that once drove you.

But you do it. Because in the end, you love the sport. It’s part of you.

It’s the same with art. Being an artist isn’t always fun. It’s a huge time contribution with little or no payoff. And don’t get me started on the rejection…..

But, even if I never tried to have a single thing published, I would continue to be an artist until the day I die. It’s part of who I am. I could stop as easily as you could stop breathing. And if I don’t write, I feel an emptiness inside, a nagging voice that is screaming for me for release.

Art is a beautiful thing. It lets know to look into the void and scream, you are not alone. I hear you. I see you. I feel what you feel.

So yes, I do know it’s hard.

I know I might not ever make money and that I might not ever be famous.

And I’d have it no other way.

And I’m ok with that. Have a little faith in me. I know what I need to do to feel fulfilled in this life.

53 comments on “Have a little faith in me (An artist’s rant…)

  1. I have faith in you.

    Yes. Life is Hard. And so worth doing well.

    Remember, when you work to move out of your comfort zone, to reach for your dreams, you make the people who gave up on their dreams or were too afraid to have dreams, very uncomfortable. To reinforce their comfort, they will try to pull you back down to their level.

    It’s okay to distance yourself from anyone who wants to bring you DOWN to their level. It can be painful, but Life is Hard.

    Keep creating. You are brave.

  2. I started college studying engineering, but it wasn’t what I wanted (but the money would be good, right?). I switched to political science and I’m much happier, despite dismal job prospects. Writing seems to be getting me places, though, so keep it up!

  3. You expressed it perfectly, thank you. Non-artists won’t understand, no matter what words you use, and that’s ok. We need different types of intelligence to make the world go round. However, without the creative free thinking types, we’d all be living in caves and still banging rocks together. Not that we’re that far from it now, but baby steps…and please never stop writing!!!

  4. When people give me ‘that look,’ or try to otherwise convince me I’m an idiot for pursuing a career doing something I love, I remind myself that there is probably an element of jealousy behind their attacks. Behind their disapproval, they all wish they had the courage to try something creative and bold with their lives. When those parents of your friends destroyed their own kids’ work, they were probably just letting out the suppressed anger and frustration of their own forgotten dreams. They probably want to save their child from the pain of failing to achieve their dreams, though I think the pain of always wondering ‘what if’ is far worse than the pain of doing your best and coming up short.

  5. As a writer, and artist, I get that look all the time. When people asked me, I used to answer that I was a truck driver, which also shut them up good.

    I read a response elsewhere somewhere towards the fact that everyone who’s an artist is told this from time to time. They responded – “If everyone stopped making art, then we would never have any art hanging on our walls”.

    Also, read Seth Godin’s ‘The Icarus Deception’- it’s all about exactly this aspect, and it’s full of quotes that will allow you to embrace your artistry and creativity. The world is entering a creative age, even corporate workplaces are now seeing the need for more creativity. You’re in the right time and place to do fantastically well in whatever you attempt, as an artist.

  6. Yes. We are impelled. There is no choice really. We have to do it. Thanks for liking my post ‘Bunk up . . .’

  7. What a wonderful and wise post! I enjoyed it very much, and I couldn’t agree more with it. I’ve always written, too — ever since I was a little kid. But, for most of those years, I hid my stories and love of creating from my parents. Because, each time I tried to share with them, I would get shut down by “the look” and comments of “Well, that’s nice, but you can’t live like that.” Ugh. Talk about sucking away the creativity.

    Thank you for stopping by my blog, and for the “like” on my recent post. I am happy you enjoyed reading it, and I appreciate your visit to my site. 🙂

  8. Good faith in you…:)
    Ya, Life is not hard, it is very easy..with our attitudes and desires, we make our life hard, So balance it, life is too smoother, silky, and many more 🙂

  9. I wish I could like this a million times. This happens to me very often, although sometimes they say, “Well technical writing is really profitable right now.” Ummm no, no thanks- profit truly isn’t the goal and that is a part of what makes it so freeing. Thanks for visiting my blog and I look forward to following yours 🙂

  10. My brother is an amazing wildlife artist (the likes of Robert Bateman). He would spend months on a painting, only to have people complain about the price. Yet, if you broke down the price verses the time he spent on the painting, it was like 35 cents an hour.

    My parents discouraged me from pursing a career in medicine. I think they did it b/c they knew how hard it was and they wanted to protect me from failing. I would rather they had encouraged me to pursue my dream and then supported me if/when I didn’t make it.

    The most important thing you can tell your children is that you believe in their ability to do anything.

    Don’t quit!

  11. Soooo, you’re psychic as well! Cause you’ve totally read my mind, or peered into my history, especially about he part where you tell people you an artists or, in my case, I’m a writer. I eagerly await that 12 second “Ooooooh.”.

    But it is nice to know tat there are so many of us out there, feeling and dealing with the same things in our lives.

    From the comments posted before me, none of us are alone.

    Keep up the dreaming. 🙂

  12. Bravo for saying you are an artist out loud! Keep doing that, and never let the ignorant pity in people’s eyes get you down. Hooray for the artists in the world! You are brave and make the world a better place. 🙂

  13. My mother was an artist. Her wedding present for a bride-to-be was a painting of the woman’s childhood home. She smiled at the other gifts–but she cried from the joy of receiving a gift no one else could replicate. When the money made from a “real” job is spent, at the end of life it will be your artwork that has the potential to be around for generations. A parent who would destroy a child’s artwork has aborted their child’s life in unimaginable ways.

  14. People have different definitions of success and it seems like most of them have something to do with money rather than personal happiness and fulfilment. If what you do brings you joy and you can share that joy with others, then that is worth more than financial success. I guess that we all have to do what it takes to remain true to ourselves and if others can’t get on board then well…that’s too bad.

  15. Fantastic post. Thank you for writing it. I found it quite inspirational, and so completely relatable. All the best with your pursuits and never stop being that creative, expressive person you love being.

    You don’t fail this life by not amassing money. You fail this life by not being 100% true to yourself.

  16. Nice post . . . funny how the people that give those looks seem to enjoy music, reading books, viewing all kinds of pictures (if only online) and so on.

    It’s strange that way, like the work is admired so much more than those who put so much into it. Perhaps the question asked should be why it is so hard for artists, but then we’d have to talk about something like values – being an artist requires courage through conviction – good for you in your persistence. 🙂

  17. This is probably the most inspiring rant I’ve ever read. I do have faith you’ll prosper in your artistic endeavors, especially with such an optimistic attitude. And what if everyone only pursued careers just to make good money?

    In short, I’d rather have a relatively low income than be wealthy and working a job that I didn’t enjoy. Even with the good money, I’d always ask myself, “What’s missing?”

    So please, keep pursuing your dreams!

  18. This is an amazing writing, you speak my mind. I would very much rather a life well spend than one well earn. though it would be best to have both.

    Keep pursuing your dreams 😀

  19. Pretty much the same conversation I have when I say I graduated with an English degree.

    “So what is your degree in?
    “So you want to teach?”
    “Maybe college, but probably not.”
    Long awkward pause.
    “So, what DO you plan on doing?”

  20. Artists and liberal arts majors. Except the standard question was, “What are you going to do with a History degree? Wait tables?” Yeah. I got a job waiting tables on cruise ships. Tons of fun (back breaking work), travel, interesting people, and it is still the most commented on feature of my résumé. Wouldn’t change a thing.

  21. Thanks for liking our blog. We find your post awesome. Thanks for sharing. Yes, those of us who are artists at heart (meaning writers for us) just do it because we want to, we must, and that’s how we are made. If we make money at it, great. If not, then we have to pursue other ways to make money and do our art in our “free time” such as it is. For Ian, that meant waiting until close to retirement. For me (Gayle) I’ve done it all my life but not always for money. But our art is the important thing. You stated it beautifully. Best wishes as you continue to pursue and celebrate your art.

  22. feels so good to find someone who share the same sentiment. i am madly deeply in love with writing. but i am still not sure whether id take on writing career or not. Im just scared that I wake up one morning, getting sick of the thing that used to heal me. I feel like I cant write for money because I might end up writing simply because I have to and not because I want to.

    • It’s a hard choice to make! I too have struggled with that, I don’t want to lose my passion but I would like to take my writing to the next step. I suppose it is a balance we all have to find.

  23. Pingback: Versatile Blogger Nominee! | literalstarvingartist

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