Frustrations As An Artist

art classes rich people selling art Thoughts

There is a perception that exists within people's minds that if you go to art school, or if you take art classes, that these methods of learning & education can make you an artist, which will enable you to make a living off of your art. This is simply untrue. Whoever tells prospective students this gigantic lie is just wanting to take your money in exchange for "teaching" you art. I have a book on my shelf titled "How Art Cannot Be Taught", and it's true. It simply can not be taught... the love of art must come from within you. In order to become an eternal student of art (aka an "artist"), it must make you mad. I'm not talking about the emotion "mad", I'm talking about... the crazy kind of mad. Art must consume you... it must make you think, it must make you paint, it must make you BURN THE ARTWORK, it must destroy you and then put you on a pedestal all in one moment. Anyway, I teach art classes here and there, mostly to adults. A lot of people ask me about classes and one of the first things out of their mouths is, "I want to learn how to be an artist", or "I want to sell paintings". I can't help but be cynical about these questions because in all honesty... it's not possible for someone who doesn't have any previous interest or experience (self-teaching) in art to actually become an artist after a few classes. If art has been itching you for years... decades... and you never had time to make it... well, the reality is that those who "make it" as an artist have been creating art ever since they were little and they never stopped making it. Those that linger or procrastinate about making art just do not "make it" as an artist and if they do, they would have to be a wizard to compact 20+ years of "not making art" into 10 hours of classes. Another thing I don't understand are wealthy people who pinch every penny when it comes to anything art: taking an art class, buying art, buying art supplies, etc. If you come to me, wealthy, and tell me... "I want to learn art", and yet you don't want to spend money on art supplies, how am I supposed to help you? Or, if you come to me, wealthy, and tell me, "I want that painting which is priced at $2,500 for $500", what do you expect I'll say to you? I'll tell you that I'd rather give it away to a poor fellow artist for the stretcher frame than sell it to you for $500. It's my time, materials, concept, technique and experience that you are paying for. And my eventual worth as an artist 20+ years from now. Would you bargain with a custom housebuilder, too? Or would you walk into a Prada store and bargain down a $2,500 leather purse to $500? I didn't think so. I'm tired of seeing people walk into my store with Louis Vuitton purses and Christian Louboutin high heels and then say, "$2,500 for that big (5' x 4')painting? Too much. I'll give you $500." Give me a break. Your shoes and purse combined cost more than my single painting which is actually priced low for it's size.  

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  • Candace Weir on

    Amen! We are on the same page. How can some one who will pay big money for a piece of clothing or a purse -which they will discard in a couple of months and then expect you to basically subsidize them should they decide that they may like your work. It is time for Calgarians to change. Like you, I would rather give my stuff to a charity auction or to friends and neighbours.

  • Olivia Alexander on

    I can relate to this! People don’t respect artists yet we are craftsmen/women.
    I find it degrading when people try to bargain my price down. I refuse. I would rather keep the painting and be true to myself than sell it cheap to someone who doesn’t appreciate it any way.


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