The idea of a struggling artist is a romantic notion. Romantic, strictly for those who are not the artists themselves. Because, as any artist would tell you, there is nothing remotely appealing about being unable to pay the bills or worrying where the next meal is going to come from.
A few days ago, I was at a gathering of artists from various discipline and talk, as it always does, turned to earning a living from your art. Some said that they were doing unrelated day jobs and one person said he was eking out a living. And I said that doing my commercial stuff allows me to create artistic work. We all did what we had to do in order to pursue art.
That said, it later occurred to me that there was no such thing as non-commercial art and pure art for its own sake.
Every poet needed patronage, every sculptor needed to sell his work, every musician needs fans who will buy tickets to see her perform. Art in its own vacuum is all very noble. But ultimately, it is a fantasy and if it is to be sustainable, it needs some commercial transaction somewhere. Otherwise, it’s a hobby and will remain one.
Are you an artist? Are you struggling? What’s your take on it?