The other day it was pointed out to me that there was a type-o in the bio on my website. It’s been there a while and it has caught the eye of a few people. I thought about correcting it, but haven’t because it is not entirely a type-o. It reads “I hopped a plan to New York where my career began”, everyone knows it should be “I hopped a plane.” I did not change it when I first became aware of it because I really did hop a plan to New York. Most people plan their lives. Not all plans work out, but most try to stick to them. For me it was to study art, the business of art, and learn where I would or could fit in.
I did not think about the flight there, just about putting my plan into action, so in a way I was riding my plan; a two-year plan of what I would be doing every day for those two years. In art school I was taught how to draw, mix colors, and how light works. There was a month of perspective, and design, and how to letter – but nothing about making a living from Fine Art. That “making a living” part was pretty important to me. Can’t paint if you can’t buy paints. Can’t eat if you can’t buy food, and can’t think of art if all you think of is food. So before I left Chicago I armed myself with a two-year plan.
So many artists set out without any thought as to how they are going to live. They have a degree in art and start their careers. That first stumbling block comes when it’s time to sell something. The landlord won’t take another painting, the girlfriend is fed up with staying in with pizza, the car needs another $500 in repairs, and you need a tux because your best friend wants you as his best man. All this is from a man’s point of view. I’ve heard a number of stories from female artists who put their art career on hold to raise a family.
Today there are more artists out there than ever, some painting just for the pleasure one gets from painting, some to add a bit to their retirement income. The competition out there is greater than ever before. So arm yourself with as much knowledge about art as you can if you are thinking of making art your career. A piece of paper stating you put 4 years in a university isn’t enough these days.