The Starving Artist – Part 2

Why care about Starving Artists?

Well, that question reminds of a question from my ex that absolutely floored me! I had told her I was taking a workshop on poetry writing (a very expensive $ 50 workshop) and fretting about this horrendous expense she peevishly remarked, “But, what’s the practical value of poetry?”

Any of you who appreciate music, art, or poetry will no doubt also be appalled by the sheer ignorance of that comment. The ‘Arts”, literature, poetry, music are no by definition about practical value THOUGH they can have immense practical value. “Music does indeed soothe.” And, great writing has stirred peoples to action. As music stirs the soul.

“Art” feeds our soul. And, believe you me our souls need feeding today.

And those types of professionals who fit the generic category “Artist” contribute much to our culture. I believe we NEED art. As, we need it’s companions, literature, music, and oratory.
But, do we need Starving Artists?

Good question. I think a better question is: “Do Artists need to starve in order to be great Artists?”

I don’t think so. And, that’s probably the main reason I’m a coach. I work with a lot of “Artists”-types. Probably, because in my own way I’m an Artist.

I think it’s time to talk about what I mean by “Artist”.

I’ve been coaching bright, creative professionals since 1988. Many of them would also be characterized as unconventional, quirky — certainly not mainstream. They’ve had many different job titles: Marketing Consultant, Speech Development Consultant, Copywriter, Community of Practice Consultant, Health & Public Safety Consultant, Co-Active Coach, Web Designer, BodyMind Nutrition Coach, Jewellery Designer.

But, titles really don’t tell us a lot about the essence of the person who carries that label. I should know! For 7 years, in my ‘real’ job, I had the official title Senior Project Analyst — I never knew if that meant I was senior or I analysed only old projects — but, I did many different things. The same is true of the wonderful professionals I’ve coached.

That’s why I coined the term Artist. And, it’s probably just as crappy a term for capturing the essence of these quirky, wonderful, out-there professionals.

Here’s why I call them Artists: They don’t work! They create! Their so-called work is about doing, engaging in their passions, in using their talents: fully. They don’t do 9 to 5! It’s about their “Art”. It’s not about monetary rewards (we’ll get to that question tomorrow). It’s about creating! It’s about expressing — their ideas, their passions, their interests. And, all this creative energy is focused on putting IT out there in the believe that that will make the world a better place. And, even if it doesn’t they have to do it anyway!

Artists, and I mean my term for the unconventional creatives, value their art, believe in art, and the creation of art. Almost at any cost. And, that’s where they get into trouble…

If they embrace their Artist archetype too much. Identify with it too much. They miss out on the rewards available from the ‘real world’. The one some Artists label as mundane, boring, greedy, and even evil!

So, are you an Artist? Or, do you have Artist tendencies? Are you making a decent living? Or, close to starving?

Tune in tomorrow and find out what you can learn from The Banker (also known as The Judge, The Sheriff, and The Teacher).