Artist is a broad term. It covers a wide range of creative endeavors. Writers, painters, sculptors, singers, actors, knitters, and on and on. Lots and lots of creative professionals are artists.
Ironically, professional artist is a career often look upon as “unusual.” It’s not a normal way to be. Artists don’t tend to work for a specific “boss” in a cubicle in an office 9–5.
If your art doesn’t create product — such as singing and acting — you have an even more complicated challenge. Lots of people can sing and act — but doing so professionally takes a tremendous amount of work, concentration, and focus.
A lot of people will talk about being “in the same boat” to describe shared experiences. This got repeated frequently during the height of the pandemic.
But the truth is that few of us share a boat. Depending on what we do, where we are, the people we associate with, and lots of other factors — there are lots of different boats.
This is not a denial of the shared experience. But a reframing to help recognize differences that will impact practice and approach.
The storm we weather is the same.
But like any storm, there are hot spots, eyes, and other unique elements. There are also segments where it rains in one spot but snows in another, where it is greater or lesser — and thus impacting us differently in that way, too.
But knowing we navigate the same storm helps us to help one another.
The same storm is bucking the normal
This particular storm is borne of choosing to not follow a normal path. Professional artists don’t usually follow the crowd. They stand apart from what society expects of people — and that can be a pretty massive weather system.
In the United States, for example, most people are expected to work 40 hours a week in some sort of office setting and treat the arts as a hobby. There’s been, from what I have seen, a pretty heavy deemphasis on the arts in schools for the last 30…