I am an artist and my husband is not a dentist
I 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!