7 things artists hear all the time
Not kidding my first email address was email@example.com. This was middle school, so don't make fun too much. From my first art class in elementary school I knew I wanted to be an artist. Until recently I didn't realize that was entirely possible.
I mean in the movies artists are always portrayed as sloppy and broke and so dang emotional. And that's honestly what I thought it meant to be an artist.
Until I started working for an artist and I saw that it can be a successful career. I decided to pursue art and open my own little small business.
But still, when people ask me what I do for a living I get a little shy. Because I never know what their reactions will be. With my husband going into the medical field, sometimes people ask me if I'm training to be a doctor as well and when I respond "no, I'm an artist!" sometimes they are so excited, but other times they frown a bit...
From my two years so far as an artist, here are the 10 most common things I hear. And maybe you can relate and this post will show you you're not alone in your desires to follow your dreams.
1. "Is this what you're planning to do the rest of your life?"
Usually from a concerned parent who thinks it's not possible to make a living as an artist. We'll talk more about that in #3.
A: Yes, and it makes me so happy! It allows me the freedom to do what I want where I want.
2. "So do you just wait around all day for your husband?"
People sometimes assume I sit around the house all day and maybe paint a couple flowers on scrap paper. I'm actually very busy. Most days I'll paint about 9 hours a day, if not more. If we have visitors in town and I'm not working, it's because we have visitors in town. I'm my own boss, so I can work overtime and work on the weekends! And that's one of the bright sides of being an artist.
A: No, I'm hard at work because this is my full-time job. It keeps me busy and I love it.
3. "Can you really make a living as an artist?"
First of all, yes. And you don't even have to be famous! There are so many resources from which you can make some income. And it all adds up.
Here are a few sources I think are great if you're looking to pursue art as a living:
- weekend markets
- wholesale to stores in your area
- your own website backed with social media
A: Yes, and there are several ways. I'm so grateful to have this calling of being an artist and creating beautiful things on a daily basis!
4. "Have you always painted with watercolor?"
Never really sure how to answer this one. I think all artists have always found joy in creating. My old boss would always tell me "it's the kids who have the most fun drawing with crayons that end up being the most talented artists." And I think that's true. The more you practice, the better you get.
A: I've always enjoyed exploring my creative abilities & painting has been my favorite way to get my mind off of things since I can remember.
5. "Is this a print?!"...and then a shake of the head in disapproval
Mainly I hear this comment at markets. Lots of people are upset when they find out that anything that I make that isn't a custom order is usually a print. I don't blame them, but hear me out. First, it would be near impossible to duplicate a piece 10 times and then only sell the piece for $15. Artists who create prints work night and day to master their craft. Printing is NOT a quick and easy job, especially for those doing it at home. Printing takes trial and error. So when you see a beautifully crafted piece that has been printed, know that is an art in itself. If it's an original watercolor you're after, you'll need to be willing to pay the price for the artist's time and attention to detail.
A: Yes, it is a print. If you're looking for an original watercolor I do offer original pieces. The prices start at $XXX (however much you've valued your time at!)
6. "Can I take a picture of your art? My daughter loves to paint and I think she could make something like this."
Okay. Ugh. This one particularly leaves me speechless.
I've also seen this in different forms all over social media. One of my friends painted some watercolor pups for a famous actress, blogger, and socialite. It was posted on the high-profilers Instagram and I was so happy for her, but when I read through the comments very few people complimented the artist. Instead, I saw commenters tagging their friends telling them to either make them a similar piece or that they should make something similar.
A: If you'd like more photos of my artwork, you can look at my Instagram or website. (This way they're drawn to where your items are available for sale & they might be more willing to purchase one of your creations you've put time and effort into curating.)
7. "I'm so not creative. I could never create something like that."
This one comment has inspired me to start blogging. Mainly because I hear it so often and disagree with it so strongly! Yes, you can create something like that. I fully believe that anything you set your mind to, you can do.
Yes, there are some who are naturally more gifted than others. I won't argue with that. But no matter how frustrating it is at the beginning or how much more time it takes you than others, I do believe we were all made to create.
A: Everyone has the ability to be creative! Nothing improves without time, effort, and practice. The more you are willing to invest, the better you will be! If it's truly something you'd like to get better at, you can totally do it!
Two final things. If you ever find yourself in one of these situations, know you're not alone. And! Get out there and make something today.