Of course, in the end it’s a choice. I can choose to be an artist and to make art. But the fact that my family has been supportive of my artistic efforts makes it easier for me.
Trying to make art when you’re surrounded by people who think it’s a silly idea is hard. You spend a lot of time trying to defend your decision, trying to explain why you think it’s valuable or worthwhile. Maybe you’re too busy defending yourself to spend enough time actually making art.
Trying to make art when everyone expects or demands that you do something else is even harder. It can feel like there’s no room for failure; if you try and fail, everyone will see that they were right all along.
You have to decide what you want from life and then find people who will support that choice. If your family doesn’t support your choice to be an artist, then maybe you need new friends — or maybe you need to get new family members.
When kids are very young, they often draw pictures of themselves and their parents. It’s fun to see how they perceive us and what we look like to them. But as children get older and spend more time with other kids, it may seem uncool to draw pictures of your family.
It is perfectly fine to stop drawing portraits of your family. But if you can’t help yourself, you should understand that this is a hobby that is not always well-received by others.
The good news is that art is not the same thing as a hobby. Art usually has more lasting value than a hobby, which generally just wastes time and money.
As an artist, you want to put your work out there for everyone to see. You want people who enjoy it to buy it from you so that you can keep making more of it. When you create something great, the world will recognize its greatness and reward you appropriately.
This can be scary because it’s hard to know if your work is really any good or if anyone will ever appreciate it.
Most artists have a story in which they showed their work to someone who was unimpressed at first but then came around later on and started buying their work or otherwise showing support for them. In most cases,
I am a working artist with family and friends who have no artistic inclinations. How do I explain my art to them?
I think the first thing is to not be frustrated. There is nothing you can do about it. You can’t change their minds, and if you expect that, you will be disappointed every time. Don’t expect them to understand your art or like it, just try to make sure they don’t actively dislike it.
Artists are a weird bunch.
We’re always looking for new ways to express ourselves and our creativity. We’ll draw anything on practically any surface, and we’ll take our drawings just about anywhere. We like to think it’s because we’re so full of ideas that we can’t wait to get them out. But in reality, it’s because we’re so full of doubt that we need constant reassurance that everything is okay. Is this good? Am I really an artist? Why do I have to keep drawing the same thing over and over again? What if my art sucks?
Believe me, these are not questions you want to ask yourself when you have a choice between a blank sheet of paper and a sketchbook. So all the time we spend drawing is really just an attempt to reassure ourselves that all the time we spend not drawing was a good idea.
Every now and then, though, something comes along that needs to be expressed in a way only art can convey — some kind of feeling or idea that can’t be expressed in words alone. This is why artists tend to shy away from things like plot or character development; they don’t fit into the artist’s view of what makes art “art.” If your story isn’t purely about expressing
My mom is a big fan of art. She was the one who inspired me to draw and paint. And she still does it herself. But she had the same concerns as most parents: “What would you do if you couldn’t make a living doing art?” I didn’t know what to say, so I just said that I would get a real job in the meantime and if art didn’t work out, that’s what I would do.
Thing is, when you’re an artist, it’s hard not to lean on your parents for financial support. My mom has been giving me money here and there when I need it throughout my artistic career, but now that I’m farther along in life and have more responsibilities, sometimes my requests for help are more frequent than she’d like. I couldn’t really blame her for not wanting to give me money all the time (even though we both know it’s temporary), but at the same time, she wants me to be successful in art so much that sometimes I feel like she’s holding back from being as supportive as she could be.
A family member or close friend is your biggest fan, but your friends and family just don’t get it. They think you’re wasting your time. You can’t be a successful artist and support a family at the same time, they say. Why not? Because you need a day job to make ends meet. And besides, no one will pay for art—you have to have a real job.
The first objection is easy to dismiss: if you don’t believe in yourself enough to take risks and follow your dreams, then you’re never going to amount to anything anyway. But that’s still just an argument against listening to naysayers in the first place. If you want their approval, fine—but if they aren’t willing to support you in what you want to do, then their opinions don’t deserve much of your attention.
On the other hand, if they are offering you advice because they care about you, then there are some things you can do. Part of being an adult is learning how to deal with people who don’t share all your values and opinions. So maybe it’s time for a little tough love instead:
You’re an artist? How nice! I’m sure that’s very rewarding…
Yikes! What did I just
In our house, the art was kind of an afterthought.
We had a door, and we needed something to hang on it. We had some wire shelves, and we needed something to put on them. So the art seemed like a good way to fill those needs.
When I got home from work that night, I saw that my wife had hung two things on the door: one she’d bought for me when we first got married (a painting by a local artist), and one she’d made herself several years before (a collage of things she’d found around the house). The thing about the painting is this: it’s beautiful. It’s exactly not my taste ― there’s no sense of composition, the colors are clashing, it looks like the artist learned to draw by copying comic books ― but it’s beautiful in a way I can’t describe because I’m not smart enough.
My wife’s collage on the other hand… well, I didn’t really know what to think about it. It was just a bunch of stuff glued to paper. There were some photos of buildings, some colored pencils (which were also glued down), a couple leaves, and some other things I can’t remember. There was no theme; it wasn