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This article reprinted from John T. Unger's Art Heroes. The original article can be found online:
© 2010, John T Unger
Art Heroes Review
Artist Advisor Aletta de Wal is equal parts artist, educator and entrepreneur. She makes make art marketing easier by breaking it down to meet your goals and fit your time, energy and money. She provides templates and steps to follow that make the business side of art simpler.
Aletta is currently working on a new book My real job is being an artist (what you should know before you quit your day job or get one) expected out late this fall. I had a chance to read an advance chapter of the book on clichés and myths about the life, career and business of being an artist. These are the stories that can both draw people to the arts and at the same time prevent real success.
Here are a few quotes from the beginning of the chapter on myths and clichés:
When the "real job" of being an artist is devalued, so is the art. Tenacious myths about the art lifestyle are so deep-rooted in society that some artists even believe them. Artists who shed these misconceptions release trapped energy and free up mental and emotional bandwidth for their life's work. Access to the truths of the art world frees artists to create their own reality of making a living making art.
I think of myths as the underbelly of clichés. Clichés persist because they usually contain more than a kernel of truth. Myths are the underbelly because they tend to belittle the person or activity they describe. Like clichés, myths may have a bit of truth in them for people who accept them on face value. Beyond every myth there is a reality. And each reality is part of a larger picture.
The "starving artist" myth is just one of many false beliefs about how artists live and work. You don't have to starve to be a true artist. Even the archetypal starving artist, Vincent van Gogh, wasn't doing so badly. He came from a wealthy family of gallery dealers, and he worked in an important gallery for six years. While he was a painter, his brother sent him a generous monthly stipend. So in fact, a certain amount of comfort can contribute to greater artistic success.
Here are the twelve myths and clichés that we examine on the show:
- If I Just Do My Art, Everything Else Will Work Out
- My Art Speaks for Itself
- My Artwork Is So Good, It Will Appeal to Everyone
- I'm So Good That One Day I'll Be Discovered
- A True Artist Lives Life Free and Without Structure
- If It Didn't Work Out Once, It Will Never Work Out
- I Can Succeed Only in New York (Or any Other Art Mecca)
- Artists Are Not Business People, My Dealer Will Handle Everything
- All Good Artists Are Poor
- Society Owes Artists a Living
- I Don't Need to Know About Anything But My Art
- One Big Break Will Make My Career
Learn More about Aletta de Wal
- Artist Career Training: Guided Programs for artists.
- Art Business Library: Independent study materials for artists.
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Show Highlights: Excerpts From the Conversation
Once the transcription is completed I'll include some of the best portions here.
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