Monday, March 5, 2007

Myths and Money

I have some big ideas about how I'd like to make art, build community, and make some money doing it. I also have a very cynical husband, who believes, as most people do, that "artists don't make money". Meaning, art is not valued in our culture. We pay plumbers huge sums of money (as I did when I had a natural gas line put in to my new studio). Of course, we need to have heat. We don't need art. Or do we?

I'm sure alot of people have written about this, far more eloquently than I'm about to. But it's been on my mind alot. The myth (or commonly held belief) that artists don't make money....alot of us artists buy into it too. My mom was an artist, and my father keeps repeating the myth back to me (he supported my mom so she could paint). I suppose he doesn't want me to be dissappointed. And my husband is equally skeptical: artists don't make money, because people have to pay their bills, dammit.

I believe that people DO need art. Historically, art defined a culture. Folk art has many functions in a society. Maybe not ours, at the moment. But I'm thinking back to college, to Dave B.'s dorm room. Nothing on the walls, no color; depressing as a prison cell (ok, so he was a hockey player who'd had several concussions, but still...) Now that I'm older, I can say the same about people's homes. Folks that don't value art, don't have much imagination, or just don't care about decoration create spaces that have no energy. Maybe it even sucks the energy out of you just to be in there. Zzzzzzzzzzz...

And then there's my friend Joyce's house. You go in, there's handmade items, rocks she's picked up, and you can just tell that the plants are happy (if she didn't have a big Rottweiler, you'd want to hang out). Part of the difference is due to that expression of herself; in her case, it's not the art that's hanging on the walls, although there is some of that. Her home is an expression of her creative self. We use art, or decoration, or design to do that, to create energy. Do we need that? I believe we do. Now we just have to convince everyone else. And let go of that persistant myth.

3 comments:

Kristen Schwartz said...

I've been doing a lot of research on this myth and I'm developing a workshop called Dispelling the Myth - Surviving the Lean Years. I was going to reveal it at the meeting Friday. Artists are buying into this "starving" myth and it isn't true. If it were people wouldn't be making the kind of money they are. I've decided to buy into the Thriving Artist archetype instead. According to my research art is thriving. Don't buy the myth.

When I came up with the idea of being a thriving artist I googled it and found there were lots of others with the same idea. I even found a guy who is desperately trying to help others dispell the myth by teaching workshops.

And lastly, you've GOT to see the Secret. I bought it when we went to Borders last week and I've watched it twice. It's all there. THRIVE be FREE!

Anonymous said...

Dave B was a dufus, my art was my guitar.

You know who.

Melissa Lanitis Gregory said...

Yes, your art was your guitar, and your room(s) had alot of great energy. Totally night and day from DB's situation. By the way, "dufus" is spelled "doofus"...