Follow Your Passions
Does Having a Job Make You Any Less an Artist?
I have always been the creative, artist type. And, having grown up in Los Angeles, I have always had exposure to others who have artistic abilities of one sort or another, be they musicians, graphic designers, photographers, painters, actors, you name it. I’d be willing to bet that nearly all of us (throughout history) have debated over whether or not to A) completely immerse ourselves in our art. Do you follow your passions, and forgo a steady income from a 9 to 5 type job (whether related to our art or not) and eke out a living solely by marketing our art? Or B) do you sign up for the 9 to 5 gig and follow your passions in your free time?
Are you giving up on your passions if you decide to go the job route? Are you more of a “true” artists if you decide not to get a regular job? Does being a “true” artist require that you live off of your talents alone? What does it mean to follow your passions?
Most of my friends who are not already established as artists, have simple jobs in order to pay the bills, put food on the table, and cover simple lifestyles and expenses (such as art supplies!). They devote most of their free time to their various passions. Myself? Well, I learned early on that while I don’t necessarily like paying bills, it must be done. Also, I am rather fond of having a roof over my head. And I like eating. A lot actually, and regularly. So, I have a job (completely unrelated to art in any way, shape, or form) and do my artwork in the evenings. Does that make me less of an artist? Or is using my talents and creativity as often and as regularly as possible enough to qualify me as such? Does one truly have to starve in order to be a bonafide artist?
Personally, I don’t feel that I am any less an artist by having a job. And while I would absolutely LOVE to be a stay-at-home artist, I am also a realistic person. It costs money to live. It costs a little more to live comfortably, have enough to eat, and have my basic medical needs covered. And let’s face it…art can be a fickle business. You’re hot one day and not so much the next. My job is low-key, and for the most part, stress-free. It pays the bills and provides me with halfway decent medical and dental insurance. I devote my time to my art after work and some of that is commissioned work. In addition, I’m always looking for new angles to market my creativity.
Having a job to make ends meet does not make you a sellout. What it does mean is that you’re a responsible individual who handles your expenses and your passions, and there’s nothing wrong with that. And if you’re one of the ones who decides that the dreaded J-O-B just isn’t for you, consider one in the field of your passion. If that still doesn’t work for you, then by all means, forgo the job and best of luck to you! And seriously…more power to you if you can make it work.