When did we become a nation of “I’ll only be an artist for money?”
We’ve all been there before: You make a statement that doesn’t really suit you about what you aren’t getting. Someone gives you advice to see your plight in a different light; you lash out and ruin the relationship.
You lose the potential solution to your needs, but you also ruin a good chance to build a better community and a better you.
I’ve had this happen to myself a few years ago when I was looking for an external solution to my needs. I released control over my own responsibility and hoped someone would see the genius I have and support me for my artistic value until I was living the grand dream.
What a dream it was – or should I say a depressive nightmare.
Wealth is Death to Artistic Value
I recently came across this when I had an interaction with an artist I wanted to support – both financially and as a moral support. The life of an artist is very hard, and I understand there is no worse critic than the internal one.
This artist considered others getting more money than they were to be a huge bane to the independent artist and called out other artists for being charlatans and thieves.
I commented on the post (Trust me, I already was pretty wary of doing so, but as a struggling helper, I do the stupid things sometimes) and expected to have some push back from the person in question. It comes with the territory.
However, what I didn’t anticipate was the personal attacks on me based on my Facebook feed for the last six posts. I didn’t have thirty posts pushing independent artists and broadcasting their work. Instead, I had pictures of Huskies, a post from this very blog, and some humorous things I found amusing I wanted to share with my friends.
I pulled the money set aside to purchase a piece and notified them as such. Again, not too bright in the “getting things accomplished” department, but I wanted to show that I was actually a willing customer, and I do support artists.
Edit: The artist in question responded with “busting my balls,” and “I was being a big baby.” Not the greatest way to win over a customer.
However, I do not “support” artists.
You might believe there isn’t a difference in the word, so this is why I put the second one in quotation marks.
• Support means to purchase something, to broadcast the transaction went well, and to affirm the quality was up to standard – or even beyond.
• “Support” means I will fix everything for them by taking their negative crap and allowing them to be their own demise. I’m almost like a parent, except I don’t have them living in my basement.
I brought the reaction to myself with my actions, and I accept what I did. This isn’t what the post is for.
What it is for is to remind us all how many times we have reached out for help and asked for something to change only to push it away and state it isn’t good enough.
More Artistic Value in Expression than in Stability
Sure, I wasn’t going to buy this person a car or a yacht, but one or two sales will help their bottom line. If I liked the work that much, I’d tell everyone about this artist and keep trying to get others to support them. While not everyone would have bought something, some would have and the cycle continues.
Instead, the cycle stopped with a bland, safe message to the artist to say I was moving on with my money and best of luck to them.
When you ask for something, you get feedback to make sure you actually want it. You might not be the woo-woo person, but you are always broadcasting something to someone with your words and your actions. People will arrive to assist you, but you have to know they can’t read minds and don’t care about your plight.
This is where life as an artist takes a raw turn, one that few artists can accept.
This was a turn I took in my life and why I have delayed this until I was almost 39. I didn’t understand the concept that no one cared for me more than myself. I didn’t grasp the idea that I was the only person who was ever going to think about me, and I could improve my lot in life.
I can define what success is and not fall into the trap of being an artist for mere riches.
When you look at the overall picture, you’ll see some amazing things. You’ll understand your “instability” averages out to be a pretty good life. You are more flexible and agile than someone at a desk job working for a large corporation. You are in a safer job because no one can fire you from being an artist, but someone can fire you from a desk job.
To this artist, I hope they understand what I see – and what the science supports – and they can accept that even if they don’t make $100,000 a year for one of their sketches, they are truly rich in the ability and more stable than the people they are complaining about.
The Human “Greed” for Artistic “Value”: When did we become a nation of “I’ll only be an artist for money?”by