Top 10 Reasons Why It Sucks to Be an Artist

I've seen a lot of these "Top 10 Reasons" something or other sucks so I thought I'd take a crack at it myself... and at myself.  Let's face it, even if we love what we do, we have plenty of reasons to gripe about it too.  That's just life. 

When you're done reading, take a moment to think about it and let me know you're least favorite thing about what you do.

We're broke.
Let's just go ahead and start with the obvious.  Chances are, if someone asks you what you do and you say "artist," you're broke.  Or close to broke.  Unless you're very very lucky and have someone to support your habit.  And hey, kudos to you if you do.

Creative block.
This is definitely the worst. When I asked a few people what the worst part about being an artist was, this was always the first answer.  It really stops being fun when you just can't find the motivation or inspiration to create. These are those moments we all have and eventually start to question why we started doing this in the first place.  Luckily, it always passes.

Real jobs.
This goes hand in hand with being broke. Not all of us are lucky enough to have sugar mamas/daddies.  Like me, most of us have to hold down "real" jobs.  This means sometimes you'll feel that sudden and rare burst of creative energy right when you have to hop in the shower and get ready for work.  By the time you get home, the thrill is gone.

Explaining ourselves.
I honestly have yet to meet a single artist who actually enjoys writing artist statements or explaining their work without feeling like a jerk.  I'm sure they exist, but I'm certain they're in the minority.  To me there's nothing more obnoxious than having to write out who I am, what I do and why, let alone holding a conversation about it.  Can't I just create and be done with it?  My favorite quote on this subject is from Robert Frost: "You want me to say it worse?"

Business brain.
If you're an artist, your business is yourself.  I know when I'm in full on creative mode, having to prepare the business side of things is a total buzz kill.  Suddenly you have to do a 180 and think about finances, branding, customers, viewers, galleries, prints, fees... all when you'd rather be producing more work.
Loved one's opinions.
It's always great to have someone close that you can bounce your ideas off of, or show off your latest creations.  But let's face it, after the 20th time your boyfriend, mom, dad or Uncle Fred says "That's great," you can't help but wonder if they're just humoring you or straight up not paying attention.  Or even worse, they might give you hints and tips on how to make it better which eventually results in the trashing of said project.  It's a big fat catch 22.  Find one muse and stick to them.  We have to stop calling in the cavalry or it's going to make us nuts.


A follow up to the last one, criticism is just awful.  Sure sure, "constructive" criticism can be very helpful from a trusted mentor, but no matter how thick your armor is, a heavy dose of "you're doing it wrong" will eventually find a crack.  Art is in the eye of the beholder, but critics can make or break us if we let them. 

Ok, this doesn't (and probably never should) effect us all the time, but every now and then we feel the pressure to keep up.  An audience is an audience and they have to be pleased (or really really annoyed) if we want to make an impact.  It's not just about the clothes people wear, trends effect everything people want.  Whether it be music, theater, visual, photography... there is always a trend.

That face people make.

Chances are you surround yourself by other like minded folks who do not judge, but there's no doubt you've met those people that make that face when you tell them you're an artist.  For too long now there' s been a stigma that wanting to be an artist when you grow up is a failed plan from the start.  This is just total bullshit.  There is room for all of us, you just have to want it and work hard at it like everything else.  So just ignore them... y'know, when you can.

Other artists.

Yes, we're all in the same boat. But we're also eachother's competition.  Nevermind the uber pretentious types who make writing artists statements or explaining your work a necessity.  My skin crawls when I hear someone explaining "Oh, I was really into negative space when I made this."  Gimme a break.  Granted, some of you might actually be putting a story behind your work or actually thinking "Wow, I'm really into negative space."  However, most of the artists I know and hang with think you're full of bologna.  Just sayin.

With all that having been said, there's one certain thing we declared artists have over a lot of people.  We do it because we love it.  Because we can't live without creating something.  Tell that to the next person who makes that face at you.  I bet they hate what they do and in the end, that's the number one reason anything sucks.
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    Arts & Dafts aims to inspire, share and create with other artists and art lovers. I'm Ry Pepper, a Jane of All Trades with a concentration in photography, writing, theater, capers, hijinks and other tomfoolery. I'm the daft. -More About

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