from Ask an Art Critic: Jerry Saltz Answers Your Questions
It’s irritating when people ask me "What do you do?" and I say, "I am an artist." Then they ask, "Well, what else do you do?" or look at me as though I am unfortunate. Why is it not enough for me to be an artist?
I know it irks you when people look at you like you’re a misfit, implying that there’s no way that being a full-time fine artist could possibly earn you a living. You know what, AdrienneRose? They’re right. Like most artists you probably are a misfit. Most people are semi-content to be loved by their mates, pets, family, or whatever. Artists want to be loved by everyone, everywhere, for the rest of time. Sheesh.
As for earning a living, I’d say about one-ten-thousandth of one percent of all artists make money from their art. When you tell people you’re an artist, of course they assume you’re not in this teeny-tiny percentile. So artists: Don’t be babies about this. More important, never, ever envy other artists who don’t have to work. Trust me on this; I am a professional. If you don’t make your peace with this in your artist’s heart, you’ll be eaten alive from within, and maybe not survive at all. Second commandment: Thou shalt not envy.