There’s a common misconception that it’s virtually impossible to make a living as an artist. Parents are always encouraging their children to pursue more “stable” careers, constantly questioning the validity and feasibility of a career in the arts. Take your pick. From film to fine art to music, every creative field is going to have its naysayers and a good many of them are well-meaning parents whose children are considering taking the plunge in what seems an uncertain future.
Many of these fears extend from a lack of exposure to the arts. Sure, a career in the arts will probably have its ups and downs, just like a whole host of other careers from banking to radiology. But please, let’s do away with the notion that working in the arts means you’ll be subsisting on a diet of canned beans and living in a hovel on the wrong side of town. And let’s do away with the idea of the “tortured genius” who mutters to himself, grappling with creative inspirations that afflict him like some disease. That’s just not who most artists are. Most artists are creative, pretty dern level-headed, and they’re pragmatic about getting ahead in life.
The real creative professional is basically always on the go. They’re downright jazzed about getting inspired and creating great work. They’re building relationships, following up on potential leads, and they’re involved in making their art. When they’re not doing their art, chances are, they’re working with other artists helping them do their art. In this way, they’re making money and are advancing their own careers one handshake at a time.
Doing the work, doing it well and making relationships are how careers in the arts flourish. You’ve got to do the do, walk the walk, and talk the talk. And you’ve got to be likeable. Sure there’s an element of luck to having a creative career, but there’s also just the cold hard facts of numbers. If you’re putting yourself out there and are meeting the right people and your work is good, you’re on track to a successful, rewarding career that feeds more than just your bank account. Surrounded by fellow artists and creative people, you’ll find you’re part of a community that feeds your creative genius and there isn’t a hovel in sight.
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