Sunday, October 20, 2013

Making It

As an Art and English major, I am constantly asked what I want to do with my degree.  Usually people ask me if I'm going to be a teacher as that is apparently the only profession open to someone with such a degree.  Sometimes I wonder what would happen if I told people I wanted to pursue a creative career as a "professional" or full-time visual artist or writer. Not that I have written anything or have the drive to be an artist, what would people's responses be like?

In Scharfstein's pages concerning the Romantic artist, and the amateur vs. professional, it brings up questions concerning the lifestyle of a modern artist.  As society has changed quite a bit since the time of Vasari, Giotto, and Cezanne, so has the system of an artist finding patrons.  No longer do artists rely on the patronage of wealthy merchants or the aristocracy, but rather any people in the middle class can become patrons of local, regional, and even Nationally recognized artists.  Although purchasing art is perhaps not a high priority on many people's to-do list, it raises the question of how do the majority of artists make a living?

What does it mean to be an amateur artist?  Are these the ones who do art on the side of having a real job?  Are they the ones who use the job to support themselves but still spend a great amount of time and energy producing and honing their craft?  Do professional artists and amateur artists have the same distinction that Scharfstein discusses?

An aspect that I found very interesting is the idea that some amateur artists who were very proud of being amateur and not placing a monetary value on their work, would give them away.  Can you imagine what would be people's reaction would be if a collection of renowned modern artists collectively just gave away their work?  For instance, what if a group of artists just laid one original piece each in a random part of a metropolitan area?  It would be interesting to see if people would see the work, take it, try and identify the artist... Just to examine other people's reactions.  Anything you could add to this?  I found this part of Scharfstein's work to be very intriguing...

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