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In Defense of Artists

October 19th, 2011 Posted in Art stuff, ramblings, webstuff

With all the jackassery going on at Wall Street, I keep hearing one phrase pop up over and over again – “starving artists”.

I hate that term.

It’s as if everyone who isn’t an artist thinks all of us that are just sit around on our ass and wait for someone to notice how wonderful our shit is.  The reason for this rant is a post I read over on The Warrior Class that made me shake my head.  Now, before you think I am attacking Six or the DO – I AM NOT – I am addressing a misconception about artists in general and since it was the DO’s post that made me shake my head in disbelief, that it who I am using as my example of the misconceptions.

OK, here’s the part of her post that I want to address, the rest of her post is spot on so no need for me to say anything else about it.

I have an associates degree in (gasp!) fine arts, yet I also held a job and paid for college without going into hock.  And I got a real job that had nothing to do with art.  I’m also not attempting to get a higher degree in art.  Know why?  THERE’S NO MONEY IN IT.  Didn’t want to be a starving artist.  I saw art for what it was: a fun degree to get while getting my GE credits, and I left behind when it was time for real work.  That these people are trying to say that they represent me because they were too stupid to be realistic is their own fault, and I’ll be damned if anyone else should take the fall for them.

I DO have a higher degree in art and I did work my way through college as well.  I did have to take out student loans because there was no way to hold a full time job while taking 15 credit hours with classes that required at least 10 hours on each homework project, if not more.  I’m not bitching about that, it’s just a fact.  My wife did the same thing but her loans are less than mine because she also got a scholarship and a grant.

Now, to the point of my rant “And I got a real job that had nothing to do with art.  I’m also not attempting to get a higher degree in art.  Know why?  THERE’S NO MONEY IN IT.

Negative, there IS money in art, LOTS of money.  But as in anything, you have to be GOOD at it to get anywhere.  The starving artist meme is a load of bullshit that was started by Jackson Pollack so people would feel sorry for his drunk ass and every crappy artist since then who hasn’t sold one of their “I shit on a canvas” paintings has been using it as a crutch since then.

The last sale my wife and I did we cleared about $2600.  That was a one day art sale that was only on for six hours.  Her stuff brought in the most – oil paintings – but about $400 of it was mine from my ceramics work.  Now, it’s easy to say “Great, but what are you going to do next month for money?” and that is true, like any freelance work you have to scramble to keep the cash coming in. In our case, since we have now settled down, we have been scoping out galleries, she has been adding to her portfolio so she has about 25 paintings, and looking at what art sales will be coming up in the next year.

I recently went to Santa Fe to check out some galleries, and the word from them was that yes, sales were slower but the good stuff was still selling, and by ‘good stuff’ I mean paintings that had price tags from $9,000 – $50,000.  But again, you have to be good to get to that level, but it’s like that in almost any job, if you want to move up you better know your shit.

The point is that art is work, and very hard work indeed.  Those little fuckwads that want to sit around and listen to “The revolution will not be televised” or want to do shit like this are not artists at all.  They are overly indulged children who would not have survived through the first semester of my art school.  We lost more than half of my class by the time we graduated because it was too much for them.  They couldn’t handle the amount of work it required, the criticism, or the constant pushing from instructors to reach higher and work more.

To put in in a personal perspective, what do you consider art?  Is it just something that hangs on the wall to be looked at? OK, then take a look at this site and tell me that there isn’t something there you wouldn’t want hanging on your wall.  That is my wife’s work and it is selling.  She one time was working on a plein air painting when a person walking by offered her $400 for it – and it wasn’t finished yet.  So that’s the traditional stuff, gallery art, things to make your house look like more than four walls and a roof.  What about practical art?

That P226, that was designed by an artist.  The holster – that’s art too, and I think the amount of work that Micheal puts into his holsters would also count as a real job. Also, what is a “real job”?  What does that mean? That you work for someone other than yourself and they give you a paycheck?  Or that you put in a certain number of hours doing something that someone then will pay you for?  If so, then Micheal and my wife both have ‘real jobs’.

See, art is a lot more than some douche-nozzle hippie crying on a street corner about how his work isn’t understood.  It’s also a lot of hard working individuals who keep their nose to the grindstone and work their asses off making a living at art.

What art do I do? I’m trained as an animator but I also do sculpture, ceramics and drawing  My industry (like everyone) took a big hit and laid off a lot of people.  So right now I work in a call center while I am getting my own business model set up to make custom pistol grips.  I am also working on a portfolio of drawings to take into a gallery, I mostly do landscape drawings of old buildings and the like because they appeal to me that way.

Yes, there are the crybaby artists out there wanting everyone to feel sorry for them, they are the real 1%.  The rest of us work our asses off.

2 Responses to “In Defense of Artists”

  1. Six Says:

    No offense was intended. I think she was just trying to make a point without considering those who do actually make a living with their art degree. I believe it’s a matter of talent, drive and vision. If you have them you’ll be successful no matter your degree or lack thereof. If you don’t it becomes a crutch, a way to belong to the victim class. The real problem is too many Art majors seem to be falling into that last category these days and they’re the ones being interviewed. For her, I think she’d love to make a living as a photographer but her priorities have taken her down a different path. I do sincerely apologize. I’ll talk to her about making broad generalizations. She’s smart and a great young woman. You two would get along great in the real world.

  2. instinct Says:

    None taken at all, seriously. It was just a rant on my part mostly because I know lots of artists who are busting their butts just like you and everyone else.

    You are right though, if there is going to be one loud mouth liberal in the group, chances are they have an art degree.

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