Saturday, January 14, 2012

The Myth of the Artists

Somewhere in the ether is this myth - that artists don’t work at anything really - their craft, their business, their life.  We are mythological creatures who blissfully dance through existence. High on life, and paint fumes, without a care in the world.

On the flip side, there is a myth that all artists are morose creatures of the night, who love to wear black, drink themselves into oblivion and can only create when deep in the muck and the mire of self and world loathing.

While I admit that history has shown us a few poor souls who might fit into either category. The majority of artists are neither blissfully dancing through life, nor trudging through the murky outskirts of society.

Most artists are somewhere in the middle. They tend to expend energy on their craft on a regular basis.  Anyone with a portfolio of consistent work, does work a bit on creating.  And sometimes that work comes blissfully easy. Other times, not so much.

Any professional artist I know has a pretty set schedule of times they create. While they might not clock in from 9 to 5, they probably clock in from noon to midnight instead.

Art is business.  Art is fun.  And art is work. You can’t do it high or drunk (although I know a few who try). You don’t sell much or at all if it’s all depressing as hell. And you sure can’t make leaps and bounds in creative progress if you are out surfing or tanning all day. 

So why do these two myths persist?  Is it because it’s easier to romanticize that the thing of beauty on the wall took no effort to create? No countless hours of the paintings created before it to birth this one? Do people secretly wish that artists, who must by the very personal nature of their work, not care what others think, also not operate with the realm of the rest of the world in terms of taking steps to continue progress?

I really don’t know... But the next person who walks into my office, takes a look at my white board with all it’s to-do’s on it and says “wow, you really DO work” is getting a slap up side the head. (figuratively speaking of course)

Can anyone else relate?

For another post about Artists see What Is An Artist?