You probably know an artist. You probably know a number of them, have a cousin or a best friend who went to art school or maybe you even consider yourself an artist. Art is everywhere and it has become increasingly easy to become involved in the arts.
When we think about art, what do we think of first? A gallery with white walls selling expensive paintings? A museum with priceless masterpieces? The local artist showing their work at a coffee shop? Maybe we think about the starving artist toiling away in their studio hoping that the right person will find them. Or maybe we think about our cousin, who drops their kids off at school, goes to work, picks their kids up and makes dinner then finally, after the family is asleep, sneaks away into their workspace and make the work that makes them happy, for the sake of making the work that makes them happy.
We tend to romanticize the idea of art for art’s sake thinking that artists work for personal satisfaction and the exploration of their brilliant ideas, and in some ways that is true. As a working artist I have had the joy of learning new techniques, exploring new ideas and sharing my work with others, seeing them enjoy the end result of my labors.
The other truth that we tend to overlook is that making art is an expensive endeavor, not only financially, but mentally and emotionally as well. For a serious artist to continue working they need a dedicated space to create their work which often requires renting a studio on top of paying for a place to live, food, electricity, and the ever important life blood of the creative, coffee. Once we add in supplies like paint, canvas, paper, ink, and other equipment the cost of living for the artist begins to quickly exceed the cost of living for the average person.
While the notion of art for art’s sake is nice, for art to simply exist on a screen collecting likes and comments does not create a sustainable life for the artist’s we admire. Next time that I or another artist share our work with you, please share it as well. You may not be interested in buying the work, and that’s fine, but I’m willing to bet you know someone who might be and sharing it with them gets out work in front of someone we may not otherwise reach.