Open Letter: The Art of Being a Working Creative

From fam to friends, it seems everyone has an opinion when it comes to making a living off of your art. Such is life for any working artist. Guest blogger (and fellow creative) Destiny Hagest wrote an open letter to all artists who also deal with those pesky, “so how do you make money?” questions at family gatherings. 

“You can be ANYTHING you want when you grow up!”, they said. Fast forward 20 years and here you are. Leveraging your talents, trying to make an honest living as a working artist. But rather than celebrate your passion, it seems your family and friends have quite a different opinion of your choice in career. An opinion, I’m afraid, they are often too eager to share.

There’s nothing quite like being asked for the umpteenth time whether or not you want to get out of that dingy basement apartment and into a home where you can build equity and have the luxury of a mortgage payment. Or subtle reminders about the student loans that “aren’t going to pay themselves”. And let’s not forget my personal favorite, “Don’t you want to be able to provide for your family one day?”

It’s no secret that the trailblazers of the alternative path are more often scrutinized than encouraged. Whatever, though. You are more than well equipped to keep dodging those judgy bullets. Here’s an open letter to all the other creatives working on making it out there and facing the pesky friend & fam interrogations:

Cookie at Play” by Andy Wilhite.

You aren’t cookie cutter, and you weren’t meant to be

That whole “suiting up for the 9-5” thing that everyone else is doing? Maybe it’s just not for you. Period. You’re the person who puts the “creative” in creative black tie events, and you need to embrace it.

Can Knot” by Haasbroek.

La-la-la, I can’t hear you!

Ok, so you might not be walking around with your fingers plugged into your ears, but you definitely know how to drown out the noise. If there’s one thing you’re all too familiar with as a working artist, it’s that everyone has an opinion about what you should or should not be doing.

Your livelihood depends on your productivity, and you certainly don’t have time to waste on the naysayers. The world is your own personal buffet and you know that what you put on your plate is your own choice. And you probably eat dessert first too because yeah, you make the rules.

Om Nom Nom” by Philipp Rietz.

“Thanks for the inspo!”

Remember all the stabby side comments from Aunt Edna about how you should get a *real* job at last year’s Thanksgiving dinner? You know better than to let her get under your skin. Instead, you channel all that negative energy into your art and add a lot more fuel to your creative fire. After all, emotion-powered art is often your best work. Maybe you’ll even come up with a nice little gift for dear Edna’s next birthday. If you’re feeling generous, of course.

Double Thumbs” by Luis Diaz.

The Proof is in the pudding

You already know this, but punching time clocks and being chained to a cubicle is not the only way to make a dollar these days. In fact, more and more people are jumping on the freelance and entrepreneur bandwagon and making a damn good living while they’re at it.

The truth is, times are certainly a-changin’, and in order to keep up with our ever-evolving gig economy, we need to adapt our business practices. If you think about it, you’re really on the forefront of this new wave of income generation.

Bee Happy” by Mellin Paulo Bernardo.

Passion > Paychecks

At the end of the day, you might not be raking in six figures – yet! But you know what? You feel happy and fulfilled doing what you love, and that’s more than most people can say for themselves. Sure, you might need to get a job slinging drinks behind a bar in order to make ends meet for a little while. After all, we all have bills to pay. But you sleep better at night knowing you are chasing your dream versus conforming to outdated societal expectations – you already established that those norms weren’t made for you anyway.

Here’s to us creative minds everywhere! May our skin always be thick and our work inspired.

Start selling your art!

CategoriesFun Stuff
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Destiny Hagest

Destiny is a freelance writer working with J+S Vision, a bombdotcom computer glasses company keepin' eyes fresh and artists arting. When she's not rocking their specs and writing a fresh article, you can catch her finger painting with her toddler, or eating entirely too much ice cream.