GAIA ORION

Art for a peaceful and flourishing world

I am an artist and my husband is not a dentist

2015-I-Have-A-DreamI am shocked at how often I am asked “what does your husband do?” It’s like they think even though I am very serious and ambitious with my art, this couldn’t be the whole deal. They are obviously thinking that someone is supporting my expensive hobby.

Well, breaking news: No one is!

As a matter of fact my husband is an artist too (a crafter, poet and musician). We support each other in our lives dedicated to freedom and creativity.

It is kind of sad how our society doesn’t fully accept artistic careers. This observation comes from these kind of questions and many other forms. For example, I was recently at my kid’s high school’s concert. One student stood out for me as he had a very unique talented DJ voice (well beside my daughter’s exceptional voice!). After the concert I went to him to compliment him. He told me (with his  mom right there) that he would love to be a DJ and work with this talent, one which he was well aware of. When I encouraged him to follow his dream his  mom immediately said “well, you could do some DJ gigs to pay for your engineer’s studies”. Here is another story: Before I got married with my husband, my best friend told me, as to discourage me with this idea, that if I married him I would be poor all my life! Those are just two stories among many I’ve had to hear!

I am an artist so I tend to hang out with artists. I’ve now met countless people that did the dentist, doctor, engineer thing to find themselves later in life disappointed and unfulfilled. At one point they quit their job, sold their expensive house and started their artist career. After that jump, all of them started out with less material security, but they also experienced much more quality and appreciation for life because of their choice. After saying, this it is important to note that many artists I know also have nice houses, take holidays and can afford their kid’s university. Being an artist is not an inevitable poor person’s career and you certainly don’t need to be married to a dentist to start it!

It is true that sometimes I read an article or a fantastic bio of an artist… when I find out that their partner is a surgeon or a lawyer, it does feel like they had it easier.

Nonetheless I can assure you that most professional artists are not sponsored: they work hard, they take their career seriously, they have social, business, marketing and financial skills, all on top of their creative talent and artistic skills! Success doesn’t only come in a New York gallery package. Nowadays there are so many opportunities and avenues for artists to grow their clientele base and develop their own successful career.

So, for the reader, no more asking that question to artists. Instead, look at their art, appreciate all that it took personally to venture against family and society’s pressure and stigma. By the way, aside from continuing to paint, that’s one of my life goal : to debunk this false myth of the starving artist by proving them wrong and encourage others to join this extra-ordinary life!

4 Comments

  1. brilliantly written, I know what you mean. I am an artist and it took me some time to leave my corporate life to be full-time at it. And I’ve had colleges say this to me ” you are chilling at home now aren’t you ?”. When I say artist they all most definitely think that I am indulging a hobby and not doing anything serious with life… its sad. but like you said time to change that myth.

    Best
    Neleisha Weerasinghe ( NellyArtz)
    http://www.nellyartz.com
    http://www.facebook.com/NellyArtz

    • Thank you for your comment Nelly. You are pointing out a whole other subject. I know a very talented professional artist, 20 years after her working as an artist, her mom calls and it goes like this: “Hi, how are you doing today?” – “I am working mom” – “Oh you got a job?” …
      Another story: When I was in France in January a few days before my big solo exhibition, a friend is calling me to get together for a tea and I say “I can’t do it, I am so busy with the preps for the opening” and she says “What do you have to do? Why are you so busy?”…. that could be another article!!!

  2. Ive been working two careers for more than 20 yrs (treeplanting finish Carpentry, rehab therapist etc) and an art career as sculptor furniture maker and luthier(fulltime, part time, sometimes no time at all). Love it even though it can be exhausting its also exciting and keeps me happy.
    I think there are many models of an artists life and making a living from which to choose. Currently, its my wife that works full time(she is also an award winning textile artist) and i work part time while pursuing my art career.That turns a few heads as people when do the math here in Muskoka.
    But, its not about the math/money. Thats just a means to an end. Its also not about the traditional roles or lifestyles we grew up with either. its about living a creative active life together.
    Great article!!
    Cheers!
    David 🙂

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