Posts Tagged ‘real artists don’t starve’

I know my title probably sounds a little off, but work with me. If you are a fan of an artist, you need to support them. You need to buy their work, support their offers, participate in their projects and promote them. No this is not a personal plea, just something I’ve been wrestling with as I close out the year, probably somewhat influenced by having just read Jeff Goins’ Real Artists Don’t Starve.

You see there are people who have this idea that artist have to suffer and struggle for their art. This simply isn’t the case, but it perpetuates the starving artist myth and many people, including artists for some ungodly reason, buy into. Here’s the thing, everything in the world has a cost, so the best way to insure that your favorite artists will continue to create is to support their work. Let me illustrate this with a personal example.

I published the above eight adult coloring books last year. Do you know how many I published this year? ZERO. Why the dramatic drop off? Did it stop being fun? No! I really enjoyed making them. The illustrations were really fun to do and I thoroughly enjoyed the process. The thing is everything has a cost. In this case, the cost was time. Now for the most part I drew these while doing other things like watching TV, etc., but there is a serious time investment even so and all the time I spend creating these was time I could not devote to something else. The reception these received made me question the wisdom of continuing. These books were not advancing my life mission in any way, so this year I devoted my time to other things. Now had the books sold, they would have financed more ministry and I probably would have continued. I didn’t publish these books just so I could say, “Hey I published 8 books!” I published them for the purpose of advancing my work and mission.

You might look at the above statements and conclude that I am only in it for the money. I can assure you that is not the case. To paraphrase Jeff Goins, the purpose of making art is to be able to keep making art. That is why we need to be good patrons. If we want our favorite creatives to be able to continue creating, we need to support their current efforts, both with our resources and our participation.

Likewise, my fellow creatives, your work has value and if you want to keep being able to make it, there has got to be some benefit from it. Do not undervalue your work. Remember everything has a cost, it might be money, it might be time, it might be opportunity, but everything has a cost. The workman is worth his hire.

One of the best books I have read on this topic (it was one of my favorite topics) If there was problem with it, it was over too quickly. Starting with the example of Michelangelo (his example carries throughout) and looking at the stories of successful artists, of all disciplines, well-known and lesser known, the book thoroughly examines the title. Real Artists Don’t Starve. This book is amazingly encouraging and Goins succeeds in dismantling almost every belief that perpetuates the “Starving Artist Myth.” This is vitally important in the life of every creative. If you have any creative impulse in your life, you MUST read this book.

I’m reading Jeff Goins’ great new book Real Artists Don’t Starve. I’m less than 20% in and I am already wondering how he managed jam so much great information and inspiration into one little book. I have a short quote today that just resonated with me so much today. This deals with when to start being an artist.

“If you’re waiting for your moment, don’t. Start now. If you’re wondering if you had to be born to paint or sing or dance, you don’t. You just have to choose to become someone else, if the role you’re playing is not the one you wanted. You don’t become an artist by moving to New York without a penny to your name. You become an artist because you decide that’s what you’re going to be and then you do the work.”

Those last three words are especially the key. The decision to become what you want to become is huge, but lots of people want to be rock stars, but a relative few learn to play guitar. Wanting it is not to be overlooked, but you have to want it bad enough to do the work. You can be an artist, and/or a creative, the key though is starting and then doing the work. This book is already one of the best I have ever read on living the creative life. I can’t wait to read more. Check it out.