I live in an art building, which simply means my apartment is in an artist's community and I speak with a number of artists. I don't think the lifestyle of an artist is particularly understood and I believe there are some misconceptions. So, in no particular order, I'll share my thoughts on this topic. The first thing I've heard, artists are lazy. Not long ago an old friend came to visit. As we were talking about life, in general, he said: "You know, I think artists are lazy." I was shocked by this statement and honestly a little insulted. I work over 12 hours a day on most days of the week. Every artist I know works just as hard, if not harder, many have outside jobs too. How could he possibly have this impression? Maybe it's because I told him that I do not set an alarm clock in the morning most days. I don't because I tend to work more at night, sometimes going to bed at 5 am. Setting an alarm clock at 8 am wouldn't make sense for me. You can't understand the entire situation if you only listen to part of the explanation.
Artists are confident. This, the second BS fact amazes me. Artists act confidently in a lot of cases because they have to. Do you have any idea how difficult it is to bear your soul to the world? I understand that if you don't create for a living this may not make sense to you. Think about it this way - what is the biggest secret you have? I mean the one you never want one to know? Yeah. That one. Now tell everyone. Tell new people every single day. Or if you're shy, like me, that feeling you got in second grade when you were asked to read in front of the class? Recreate that feeling over and over. That is how it feels to show your creations to the world.
Artists love to create so it's ok to ask them to work for free. Umm, no, just, no. Artists indeed love to create, however, the time and materials have a cost. How would you feel if your boss asked you to come into work for free? And pay for all of the materials you use? Unless you're a teacher, you probably wouldn't do it, regardless of how much you love your job. You understand that what you do is valuable and you expect to get paid for it. Artists are the same. They are providing a service to you (and really, a majority of the work they do is already unpaid).
Heading into number 4, artists make a lot of money. This statement isn't entirely untrue. Some artists make a lot of money, the majority do not. Many artists I know, myself included frequently wonder how they are going to cover each month's expenses along with the fees to be in shows, material cost, etc. There are good months financially and there are some really bad months. There is no guaranteed paycheck, no paid vacation, no paid sick days. If an artist doesn't work they don't get paid. Sometimes even if an artist works they don't get paid.
So, number 5, I'm sure you've heard that artists are crazy. Hmm...wait! This one may be true, but I can't speak for everyone. I can only tell you how I see it. Artists bare their souls to the world for little to no money, frequently bouncing back and forth from "I hate my life" to "I love my life". Artists tend to live a life that no one seems to understand - and they do it on purpose! These things might mean that an artist is crazy. Of course, to an artist, any other lifestyle seems crazy.
So there you have it. 4 BS facts about being an artist that many think are true and 1 BS fact that may actually be true.
If you enjoyed my post please feel free to share. If there are BS facts about artists that I missed I would love to hear them. Feel free to send me a message, post on my Facebook page, join my Facebook group and start a discussion. I'm easy to reach.