Part 1: The Myth of the Starving Artist
What’s worse: that our cultural mythology tells us that if you choose the path of being an artist, you won’t make enough money to live on? Or, that there are artists who actually perpetuate this myth by believing that making money with their art is somehow less noble, less worthy, than starving?
This is the paradox of the myth of the Starving Artist. I don’t know about you, but I’m frankly sick of it. I think it’s high time we busted through.
First, I want to reiterate a message that I am passionate about: Everyone is Creative. While not all Creatives are fine artists, all Artists are Creative. Remembering that we are all Creative, whether we are painters, poets, actors, musicians, teachers, coaches, accountants, engineers, scientists is extremely important to busting the myths which abound regarding Art and Creativity.
When we embrace everyone as Creative, it becomes more difficult to give in to feelings of separation or superiority around our creativity. It’s no longer necessary to believe that we have to hold ourselves to a different, more painful, standard.
Second, I want to address the fact that there are quite a large number of artists of all stripes who are doing their art AND not starving.
Real life example: My friends Chris and Victoria Jordan come to mind. When I met Chris & Victoria, they were both still working full-time jobs in the law industry. Chris was a lawyer and Victoria was a paralegal. Not typically jobs you would consider “creative” or “artistic”. (I imagine that there are some pretty creative lawyers out there, though!)
Shortly after I came to know them, they each quit their legal careers to pursue their creative and artistic passions. Now, this road was not necessarily an easy one and I am sure there were those among their peers who didn’t understand their choices. I wouldn’t be surprised if they were told: “you can’t make a living doing that”.
Less than 10 years after quitting his career as a lawyer, Chris Jordan has come into his own as an internationally renowned, talented and passionate photographer and environmentalist. His wife Victoria is a poet who assists Chris not only by writing poems which compliment his work, but also publishing in her own right. They are not starving. In fact, they are invited to travel all over the world because of their art.
What I have noticed about Chris and Victoria is that they love what they do, are passionate about it, but are practical enough in the application of their creativity to be able to make a living doing it.
Check out Chris Jordan’s work here: http://www.chrisjordan.com/gallery/midway/#CF000313%2018×24
An example of Victoria Sloan-Jordan’s poetry can be found here: http://www.midwayjourney.com/2010/07/16/midway-journey-ii-kaleidoscope-a-poem-by-victoria-sloan-jordan/
What would become possible for your Creative self if you stopped believing that myth of the Starving Artist? Will you finally let yourself pursue your Creative Dream?
Stay tuned for Part 2 of the Myth of the Starving Artist…