Let’s Move from Starving Artist to Thriving Artist

Real Artists Don’t Starve: Timeless Strategies for Thriving in the New Creative Age by Jeff Goins

For years, many people have bought into the notion of the starving artist. I know I have. I create because I have to create. I’d like to make money from my creative endeavors but money has never really been a consideration for me.

This book offers some strategies for artists to make enough money to give themselves the time they need to create.

Here are a few passages from this book that really spoke to me. I hope they will inspire you as well.

Make Great Art

“This should be the chief goal of every artist: to make the work great. Sometimes to accomplish this vision, we must make sacrifices, even walk away from great opportunities. We do this not to hoard our gifts but to maintain the control we need to make our work excellent. It’s a short-term loss, long-term gain.”

But Don’t Starve

“This is the Rule of the Gift, which says that if art is your duty, then you must create. The nature of a gift is that it is to be given away, so the first duty of an artist is to do your work. There is a spirit of generosity in every creative act, but to embody this generosity we cannot starve. We must be creating with full bellies and full souls, and so the second duty of an artist is to make money to make art.”

Keep an Open Mind

“When we understand that an open mind can guide us into new possibilities, we don’t have to try to change ourselves into being more organized or ‘responsible.’ Instead, we can use our creative quirks to our advantage, helping us identify opportunities to do fulfilling work that we would have otherwise missed.”

Money Buys You Time to Create

“This is what most of us want: not to get rich off our creations but to have enough time and freedom to create what we want. We want to have the means to focus on what matters to us.”

The Starving Artist Myth Needs to Go

“We often live out the stories we’ve been told, sometimes without questioning the truthfulness of them. ‘I am convinced that the three sculptures attributed to Modigliani are all false, just like the ones the boys executed today,’ said art critic Mario Spagbol in regard to the prank performed in Livorno. ‘I consider their sculpture today obviously false but also the most beautiful.’

False, but beautiful. Perhaps the same can be said for the Story of the Starving Artist. We are used to seeing artists struggle and suffer for their art. This may be an attractive story if for no other reason than it is the most familiar. After all, we have heard this narrative told over and over again. Because it is familiar, we may be tempted to accept it. ‘People hang on to things that they’re accustomed to,’ Professor Hatfield told me. Sometimes, it’s easier to believe a beautiful lie than a difficult truth.”

And Be Replaced with that of The Thriving Artist

“But not always. As we have seen in this book, throughout history there have always been daring individuals who were unwilling to accept the false depiction of an artist as poor and suffering. Instead, they chose a different route: the Path of the Thriving Artist.”

Now Go Create

Whether it is painting, sketching, music, dancing, deejaying, songwriting, creative writing, or some other form of art, you owe it to yourself to create.

My List of 2020 Reads – my annual reading (b)log