We’ve had a couple of very interesting and diverse posts recently – however I do think there are some convergent ideas.
Quil4 had just written her first blog post ever (hooray!) and had mentioned the difficulty in defining ‘self-expression’ and the differences in the utility of different types of writing (how the skills of some arts will be used in non-art endeavours – for instance writing for academia vs. creative writing)
Micpen2 has made a great point on the Artists and Entrepreneurs post about how artists should do not need to feel insecure about being paid for our work – all professionals are paid for their time, talent and skill.
Self-expression is absolutely necessary – I firmly believe that self-expression and the ability to self-express in a safe environment can play an important role in our overall attitude towards life as well as our physical and mental health. But we generally have a tendency to express when something has made an emotional or intellectual impact: new loves, new loss, old love, old loss, haunting, happiness, pain, sadness, joy – you get the idea.
Artists – and those who consider themselves professional artists – differentiate ourselves by being able to create and produce even when there isn’t a gut wrenching emotional response to a particularly intense period or set of events. Of course, professional artists are also moved by such great and tempest like times in our own lives – that was what made us want to initiate in art to begin with! However, professional artists will also learn aspects of the craft or forms that are related to their own vision or art that allow the overall quality and intention of the message be delivered clearly to the audience. Also – professional artists are willing to exhibit, perform, publish – they are willing to share.
Many people suggest that in order to be truly considered a professional artist, you must be paid for your works. I’m not sure if I buy that entirely (no pun intended – hahahaha). I do agree with MicPen2 – if we are going to make our art and works available to others for sale, we need to learn to appreciate our own skill sets! We sometimes forget that not everyone has the ability to do what we do – even if they had the capacity they haven’t put in the time. Our works have monetary value and we should slowly understand that our audiences (aka consumers) are willing to pay fair market prices for our works (you pay unfair market prices on things everyday and don’t even think twice about it!).
However –the quickest way to lose your passion is to start getting paid to do it! There comes this bizarro veil of resentment once you attach monetary value to work that has inherent intrinsic value. Scott Belsky (CEO of the Behance Network) puts it brilliantly, “ Your challenge is to maintain an organic relationship with the craft that you love. The expectations and rewards imposed by others will only compromise your passion if you rely on them as the source of your interests…..stay motivated by the means rather than the ends.” (Making Ideas Happen, Penguin Group).
Money makes it SEEM as if the value of the work is tied directly to the amount of dollars someone external to the artist is willing to pay – that is not the real value of the work; the real value of the work and subsequently the value of the artist is the consistent, persistent and determined way in which we love, love, love the process of creating.
Money and Value are not synonymous – however both have their place in the life of the artist – it’s just a matter of you creating the right balance between the two – what works for you? what fits? what feels right? There are no right answers and fortunately there are no wrong answers either.