9/14/15

Phooey, I says! Suggested Direction, 8x10

"Suggested Direction" 8x10"  Pastel en Plein air   ©Brenda Boylan

Warning! To be read with "tongue in cheek"

While I go about my errands being the friendly that I am, I oftentimes encounter people in conversation while standing in line at the bank, at some customer service desk, or at the Dr's office, or even while I am out painting plein air, and more than likely they will ask me what I do, like, really do? When I proudly tell them I am an artist, I am more than saddened when the reaction is faced with a kind of curious disbelief. It makes me feel rather odd, like I am irregular, or I'm out of pace with reality. It must be that fancy calligraphic, bold font tattoo that sits upon my forehead that reads "CrAzY!".    

It amazes me that there are hundreds of thousands of artists who live a creative life and carry on their business that the general population has never heard of the artist profession before, like the impossible of impossibilities. My head rings and tremors when I here people say...uh, it's hard to even write it, "starving artist". I just s h i v e r e d when I typed that... or even some lesser term for those who often struggle to get by with their talent. How many people do you know who started a business and struggled, failed, or succeeded? It happens all the time. Yup. Sadly, it is quite possible that the stigma of the "struggling artist" will never vanish from our vernacular. Phooey, I says!

What do you say or feel when someone tells you they are an artist, musician, dancer, or actor? I'd love to here.

Now if I could only wash off that tattoo!

~B

3 comments:

Jim Serrett said...

The word artist has lost its meaning, just go to any Fall Festival and see the “artists”. The guy selling birdhouses, metal wine bottle holders, and other Knick knacks are artists. Or the recent MFA recipient the majored in art ed or art therapy and had a 4 hour drawing/painting class is an “artist”.

The general persona of the word artist to the public is someone that teaches (theory) or make crafts (trinkets and novelty).

It is a sign of our fail art education system, so why would anyone expect you to be actually making a living doing art.

You asked. Sorry if it seem negative, but I feel it is the reality. But I do not let it slow me down, I going to do my art and follow my vision of art.

Sergio Lopez said...

It's funny how we have to qualify our profession by deprecating it by putting "starving" at the beginning. It's not like people say "I'm a starving teacher" or "starving barista." It's almost like people see our profession as self-indulgent, so we have to make sure our struggle is real by reminding people that "Hey guess what I'm painting stuff all the time... but I'm not making much money from it!"

Brenda Boylan said...

Thanks Jim and Sergio for your input. I am out painting in public places quite a lot and it is perhaps the first time they have ever seen someone painting which prompts the questions. It's ever-surprizing that it is "questionable" I think the next time I am asked that question, I will answer with the question "Why are you surprised?" Our profession has to do a better job at protecting our image, and those crafty folks do have something to offer, but in a simpler, creative way.