In the 12+ years I worked in the investment services industry, no one suggested that career was one that would make me broke or require innate talent. That all changed when I switched careers and became an artist. So when folks share their opinion, I keep it lighthearted and take it with a grain of salt.
Here’s some of the interesting feedback I’ve received (plus some of my thoughts on them) when sharing what I do for a living:
Wait, so you’re a painter, like you paint houses?
(Just canvases, paper and wood panels, lol)
But that’s more like a hobby, right? You’d be starving otherwise. So what’s your actual job?
(Being a full-time artist is my job. Some of hobbies include leatherworking and sewing)
You’re so lucky! Did you get money from a rich uncle? Won the lottery?
(No rich relatives or lottery tickets)
So do you just paint all day? You probably have fun standing at the easel, splashing paint without a care in the world!
(I’m a small business owner, with time constraints. Some days there’s no more than an hour to paint)
You’re actually nice, I thought artists are supposed to be pretentious.
(Most artists I know ARE nice ^_^)
Does that mean you’re a night owl? Do you paint into the late hours and wake up at noon?
(Not at all! I usually wake up around 6am and go to bed by 11pm)
You seem like a cheerful person, I thought painters were supposed to be tortured and what not.
(Only tortured when I’m hungry and have to wait on food, grrr)
I didn’t think artists were into technology and computers. Just working with your hands doing drawings and paintings.
(Love tech! Love spreadsheets, I’ve built several websites, assembled whole computers and used to work at the GeekSquad!)
No offense but, you look like a normal person, I thought artists dressed all weird and stuff.
(Just hiding in plain sight, buhahaha. The French beret is in my back pocket.)
I could not work a job where there’s no paid holidays and vacations. No paid sick days?
(Everything I sell pays towards all my holidays and any days off. And I’m not limited to just a few weeks per year.)
If you get famous and sell paintings for millions of dollars, the $100 painting I bought from you will be worth a fortune!
(Well that would be great news for both of us! Hopefully we’ll both be alive to enjoy it!)
I’m not a creative or artistic person, you are so lucky to have been born with it.
(There’s debate about nature vs. nurture, but to me being an artist is more about dedication and the work. No practice, no growth.)
Art isn’t an “easy” job with a pre-set career path… it’s challenging and full of uncertainty, but it’s also incredibly rewarding and empowering. And as much as I enjoyed the good bits of being in a corporate career… having the freedom to pursue my own path is priceless!