The Jealous Artist

June 16, 2022

I would say most artists dream of one day becoming a full-time living, working, breathing artist and having their artwork pay their bills and sustain a lifestyle; becoming a famous with your artwork in a well known gallery or museum.  It makes me feel jealous when I see artists working full time at something they are very talented at and they are getting paid handsomely for doing that.

Is It all that cracked up to be, dreaming of a career as an artist?

Working as a full-time artist is a note worthy pursuit. But also, having a day job is most often necessary for the sake of keeping a roof over your head and being able to pay your everyday bills. Having the day job though you have to find a good balance with working the job that pays the bills and continually working at the job that gives you artistic pleasure. Keeping the dream alive that maybe one day you won’t need the day job. I always tell people my artwork pursuits will one day be my retirement career.  Being an artist and having a day job doesn’t make you any less of an artist, it does instead provide an opportunity to reframe the way you look toward your day job.

Having your day job gives you two separate worlds of financial security vs creativity. And by having a day job you take the pressure off having to sell your art and becoming anxiety ridden about where your next paycheck will come from. If you aren’t worried about your art supporting you, maybe the creative side stays more active without that added pressure.

Plus a day job gives you the freedom to say no because financially you are secure so with other means of work you have more power to say no to art projects you maybe don’t believe in or want to support. With a day job to take care of the bills, there’s no reason to say yes to what should be a no.

Wrestling between time and energy

There are certain down sides that can come along with day jobs though. Sometimes you work long hours which can sacrifice the time and energy that you want to spend with your creative artist job and then you may not feel like you have the energy after a long day to come home and pick up a paint brush.  And then you feel guilty you are not working on your art. My usual during the week, my painting time is usually Friday nights. After a week of work I look forward to pouring a glass of wine and putting on some good soulful music and getting the creativeness going for a few hours.  Its like my wind down from a busy work week at my other job. Then on the weekend I'll do more art work.

You can find time to create art. It might be worth treating the art of creation as you treat maybe exercising at the gym If you get into a routine and make an art schedule. It's easier said than done though, for as I write this I did take a short break from creating. I was having a little creative block but now I’ll be back to my Friday nights paint night working on a new project.

If you can support yourself fully as an artist and still live a well balanced happy life than that is awesome!!  But if you’re not there just yet, there is absolutely no shame in working at a day job to support yourself.

Many artists are under the impression that the only truly successful artists is the one who works full time supporting themselves as an artist. Nothing could be further than that and it makes good sense financially to earn a good wage and be able to create beautiful artwork to supplement your income.

You exist to support your art. Your art doesn’t exist to support you. But I’m still jealous of those who can…