Thursday, August 20, 2009

Fun or Work?

I just read a comment made by an artist who wrote that when folks tell her that being a professional artist must be fun, she immediately replies that it isn't fun, it is work. Then she says she enjoys what she does. That confuses me. If you enjoy what you do, isn't that fun? Yes, doing art is hard work, we sweat bullets over it but, if it were all bullet sweating and no fun at all, why do it? Can't one work hard and have fun too? Does one exclude the other? I don' think so. Sometimes, when I am working on a painting, it is a roller coaster ride! And that can change from one minute to the next!
I think that artist may be feeling that those who tell her she must be having fun being an artist, is feeling she has to defend what she does; somehow, if it is fun, it isn't legitimate work. Perhaps a more appropriate answer to the comment would be that, "yes, being an artist is fun but it is also hard work". Such a response might just start a dialogue so that the person who made the comment is then educated in a pleasant way about all that is involved with being a professional artist. The "lay" person only sees the art and thinks of the artist painting away joyously. They haven't a clue about all that goes on that doesn't involve creating the art!
Perhaps the artist means that the art is fun but the business end isn't, which is totally understandable.

1 comment:

  1. Linda, I agree with you. The artist/writer probably does think her work is fun, but she has found that for each increment of fun that she enjoys, there are equal or more increments of hard work involved. Of course, this is something that other artists already understand, but non-artists easily miss this point through no fault of their own, and they imagine that artists of all varieties sit back in their studios "playing" all day. If they have never seriously created, how would they know any better?

    Unfortunately, what people like that observer need, is not a defensive artist trying legitimatize her work, or a special program to sensitize her to an artist's life. No, humankind needs to be educated in the arts, period. People need to be exposed to the visual, performing, and literary arts, and understand what goes into living and enjoying the creative life. Unfortunately, the lip service and actual carrying-out of that education are two different matters, because in our school systems, athletic programs usually win the day when budgetary debates come to a head. It's a shame, isn't it? Athleticism can carry one for a limited time, but creativity carries one forever. It's the "funnest" work one can do!