Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Are artists lazy airheads?

I've been thinking (yeah, I know - you heard the explosion?)

I think people often think that artists are the stereotype - many people assume all artists are "liberal" and "lazy," among other labels. Artists who are successful are the opposite of lazy, and I don't know about "liberal," there are definitely some "liberal" and "hippy" artists (or are they just playing to the stereotype of what people expect?!?)

But what I've seen is that successful artists really need to be go-getters and make things happen. They can't be lazy, or nothing will happen.

Another stereotype about artists is that they're moody. I suppose I fit that stereotype sometimes. Sometimes I want to be around people, but many times I'm very happy by myself. I'm kind of introverted, but if I do something like paint in front of people, I have to be able to tolerate people watching me. If I do an art show, I need to be able to mingle and be friendly.

There's a stereotype too that artists have to be "in the mood" to create. It's nice to be in the mood to create - that's a bonus, but why do artists have to be in a special mood to create? To think that way doesn't give art much credit as a profession, does it? For example, does an engineer have to be "in the mood" to do his/her job? Does your doctor have to be "in the mood" to treat your illness well? How silly that would be! So I do think that artists need to be professional about their profession enough to be able to work even when they may not be "in the mood."

Artists - depending on what type of art they do - can have a pretty physically demanding job. For any kind of festival or show, there's a vehicle to be loaded and unloaded. There is no pit crew to carry your stuff. There are heavy easels, festival tents, 30 lb sandbags to hold down your festival tent, stakes to be pounded into the ground, tables to be carried and set up, pictures to be hung, and so forth. The artist may be out in the heat, cold, or rain for several hours - or even days. An artist may need to work through the night to get an art commission done in time for a deadline.

It's different for every artist, depending on what kind of art they do, but this gives you an idea of what I mean. An artist cannot be lazy and be successful. They can't be ethereal with the "head in the clouds" artist stereotype, or the artist will miss opportunities. They have to be entrepreneurs.

I don't know where the stereotype of artists being lazy airheads came from, but they really need to stop - and artists themselves need to stop helping to perpetuate the stereotypes.


Anonymous said...

Well said my friend....
I guess I'm the lazy class, Thats why my art is hanging on my relatives walls, instead of a gallery.

Darla Dixon, Artist said...

Hanging anywhere is a good start! Better than under a bed or in a closet. Who knows who might see the art on your relatives' walls and want to look you up!

Vickie said...

successful artists are some of the hardest working people i know. Many of them have full time jobs, families and still find time to create art because they are driven to do it. It is hard to work to market your art afterwards too. I don't think they are moodier than any other group of people. Many are used to working alone, but many don't. I don't like to work alone all the time, so I take classes and am in critique groups. Most artists find inspiration in other artists too.