Friday, December 9, 2011

"Are you just in it for the money?"

"Are you just in it for the money?"
Say What??

I've gotten this question a couple of times recently (and several times in the past) in reference to my artwork, so it's my guess that I'll continue to be asked this periodically.  I should probably address it.

This question is a little odd for several reasons, but I'll only address the reasons that really stick out to me as particularly obvious.  The main points will be bold and underlined.

1.  This question is often asked in the same conversation in which it has been said (usually by the same person) that making any money in art is really difficult.  What sometimes happens is that this person makes statements like,"there's no actual money in art," and,"paintings aren't really worth anything until the artist dies."  Sometime later in the discussion, the same person says with a mildly disgusted or accusatory tone of voice,"are you just in it for the money?"   What money?  According to you, there's really no money in it until I'm dead, so what are you accusing me of, exactly?  Which brings me to #2:

2.  You're accusing me of wanting to make some money?  In this economy???  What's your profession? Oh, you're a car salesman, that's neat.  You're pretty good at it, you say?  Maybe you should quit your job and just do it for the joy of it, since it's something you're good at and that you enjoy.  After all, you don't seem to really approve of people getting paid for doing a job they love to do.

3.  Paintings are not sandwiches.  Being an artist is not to be looked at as being a soup kitchen volunteer (not looking down on volunteers. I've been a volunteer and I hope to be one again many times in the future).  Making original works of art for homes and offices is not volunteer work, or a "calling" that I should be expected to do for free. When I choose to do something for free, that's fine; call it a donation or a gift or volunteer service when I do it for free.  However, being an artist is an actual profession, and my work does normally carry a price tag.  Architects design buildings, real estate agents sell buildings, and artists/designers design some of the things that go inside those buildings.

That about sums up what I think about that question when it is asked with *that tone.*

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