Vow of Poverty

S Squared Wordmark Green Blue MNHave you ever noticed that your artist friends always seem to be struggling with money?

Have you ever wondered if it’s necessary?

According to the author of this article,  12 New Rules to Become Radically Successful, the myth of the starving artist goes back to Michelangelo.

“We are accustomed to a certain narrative about artists, one that indicates they are barely getting by. But Michelangelo did not suffer or starve for his work. He was a multimillionaire and successful entrepreneur, a “pivotal figure in the transition of creative geniuses from people regarded, and paid, as craftsmen to people accorded a different level of treatment and compensation,” in the words of journalist Frank Bruni.”

Why do artists cling to the poverty myth? Here are my thoughts:

  1. It’s romantic. Getting by, making do, suffering all have their “charms” but in reality, it’s stressful to not know if you can make rent next month.
  2. It’s expected. In some circles if you sell your art for decent money, you’re no more than a prostitute. Funny how everyone expects artists to work for nothing or “exposure” (People die from exposure!) but the janitor, receptionist and all other workers are paid.
  3. It’s comfortable. Success can be scary. It requires work, self-awareness and a number of other character traits. Failure is scary too. There was once a safety tip: “if nobody moves, nobody gets hurt”. If you don’t try, you’re sure not to fall. But think of what you’re missing!

If you’re an artist, struggling to sell your art, consider following S2Seminars.

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Our goal is to help visual and performing artists get paid for their work. We do that by teaching you basic business skills.

Our first workshop is February 13, 2018.

Learn  more here.

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