Drowning in the Rat Race
Wanting to make a living off of your art? Sure, aren’t we all? Not that we do it for the money, but everyone has bills that must be paid. Most of us would love to paint all day, or take photos, or travel around and do workshops, but to do any of that fun artistic stuff we have to work a job that is probably not artistically related to our passion, and usually makes us cringe when you show up.
So yes, living like this, putting our creativity and dreams on hold in order to make money to pay for bills and living expenses….it’s tough. It’s a complete struggle. Unless we’re born into wealth, some of us may find that we always contemplate if the artistic journey is worth it.
Why can’t we just end the pain of struggle…the starving artist’s curse? Wait, I know! We can get a factory job with steady hours and money…that would be much easier. That would end the pain, the constant struggle, right? We would be able to buy that new computer, tv, or car that we’ve always wanted. That dream house, the traveling, the upgrade from hotdogs to steak.
But the more we work at the factory to earn money for the nonessential things we could live without, the more we take time away from our art. It’s a slow and depressing downward spiral. The fact is, we’re artists. Replacing that passion and drive inside of us with the comforts of predictability would only increase our struggle because our struggle is not external, it’s internal. We have to create our art in order to find happiness. We have to feed that artistic hunger inside of us to feel whole. It’s a double edged sword and we must find a balance between art and the ability to support ourselves; content with the bare essentials.
Simplifying our life, resisting the urge to spend money and charging credit cards to buy material objects that aren’t essential for our art will benefit us greatly. We won’t be in debt. We won’t be a slave to the objects which enchant us momentarily, then collect dust until the next garage sale. Every dollar we save adds up to buying those essential artistic supplies (I’m not talking about gold-plated easels, or $6000 Leica cameras). We can even work less at a mind-numbing day job, allowing us to put more time into the art we love.
Time is the most valuable thing we could ever hope to gain. Yes, it’s more valuable than the 75″ flat screen HDTV that I recently saw for sale at Costco. It’s cool and seems to be a necessity in today’s world, but really it’s not. Trust me, we can all live without it if it means we have to spend our precious time at a job we hate in order to pay it off. Time can’t be bought, but it can be saved. Time is money, as they say. Saving money, frees up time. Wanting to be an artist that lives off of their art isn’t a delusion of grandeur, it can be a reality. We just have to be mindful of where our money and time goes. Endure the journey, it will be worth the struggle in the end!