Tuesday 1 May 2012

Starving Artist Syndrome

Two years ago, my parents had a long discussion with me about what I wanted to do with my life. It took a lot of thinking, but I decided to focus fully on my Art. Thus, I pulled out of public school to give Art my full attention. Yes, it's a huge gamble, but it's one I'm willing to take. Considering that my Dad is a professional Artist, he is, naturally, teaching me the basics and know-how of Art.

The decision to really focus myself on Art was a life-changing one, and when I decided to tell my classmates, it was met with shock and warnings.

"Don't you know, Stephanie? What they say about Artists?"
"No, in fact, I don't know what they say." (Whoever "they" are.)
"The Starving Artist Syndrome. And how your Art won't be worth any money unless you pass away."

Sundenly, the Art history I read came back to me. About the life story of the now famous Vincent Van Gogh. Was I heading towards the path of madness, being dead broke, slicing off a part of my ear, and eventually committing suicide?

That was two years ago. Today, I'm doing what I love to do. Drawing and writing. I never work for a day in my life, because my work is something that I love, and thus, isn't work at all.

But, what's up with all the misconceptions associated with Art, though? "It doesn't pay well." they say. True. But only because an Art education will put you heavily in debt. Also, because there's too much supply and not enough demand. (It's difficult to sell to someone, something which has absolutely no use yet costs so much.)

"You won't get famous." they say. Most of us do it for the passion of Art. And even more of us know that we cannot simply get by just purely selling Art. We sell prints, some of us have a day job, (It's quite sad really, to have to juggle your passion with a job that pays for the rent and food.) we teach Art classes, some of us write Art books. We do what we have to to survive.

"It will not be easy." This is something that one of my classmate, whom got wind of why I was pulling out of school from another person. It's a pretty silly thing to say to a budding Artist, considering that nothing in life is easy.

And horror of horrors was when an acquaintance, whom overheard me talking to my best friend, "But you're not even good at Art." To her, I quoted my late Grandfather; "If you don't have anything nice to say, keep your mouth shut and you'll keep a good relationship with others."

That was two years ago. I've improved by leaps and bounds due to sheer hard work and determination. It's not that I was gifted in any ways. My Dad was gifted, but he still worked hard. That's how he got to where he is today.

It isn't all just about talent, it's more so about hard work and practice. So, go forth and chase your dreams, cause dreams don't chase themselves. Have a goal and stick to it. That's what I'm doing right now.

If you were curious, here's just one of my Dad's paintings:

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