Given what we've discussed in the last two articles, Am I an Artist? and Am I a Real Artist? Not to mention Part-Time Artists Are Artists, Too–you probably have a pretty good idea of what my answer to this one will be, but let's talk about it.
It takes a long time to make a mountain, and piling a few rocks on top of one another just doesn't cut it. In the same way, becoming an artist involves time, patience, and effort–but not necessarily making lots of money. Chief Joseph Mountain by Steve Henderson, oil on canvas, of Steve Henderson Fine Art.
For some reason, people have the idea that if we do something part-time, or if we don't make a killing selling our oil painting work or charcoal drawings, then we're not really whatever it is that we're doing. By this definition, the volunteer firefighters in many rural communities who put their lives on the line protecting people and property aren't really firefighters.
Or substitute teachers–what would school systems do without these people?–aren't really teachers. Our nuclear physicist–who works part-time because of family obligations–isn't a real nuclear physicist.
A bit absurd, isn't it? But it's understandable, since an artist doesn't depend upon a degree, certification, title, or job description to be an artist. He or she can have those things, or not; and having them doesn't ensure that they are artists.
Artists make art. They don't talk about making art; they don't emote about making art; they don't wax eloquent about making art–people who do that, and stop there, are artistes not artists.
True artists spend a lot of time creating. My own Norwegian Artist paints; others sculpt, work with wood, brass, clay, and beyond the visual arts we have dancers, writers, actors…if I miss one please don't yell at me. But what they all have in common is that they create new things from whatever materials they have on hand, and they're pretty serious about doing it well.
The sign of being a real artist has less to do with how much money you make at it than it has with how much time and effort you spend getting better at it. At least that is where I stand. What about you? Leave a comment and let me know.