Yes, some of the best artists ever were poor artists and died penniless, but can we just stop?
Do you know why these people died penniless? They weren’t appreciated. People didn’t recognize genius when it was right in front of them. How could they? That’s part of why it’s genius. No one else can see it without a lot of help. Geniuses are light years ahead of everyone else and as a species of habit and comfort, they have to pull the rest of us, kicking and screaming, into the future.
You and I only know about these destitute artists because they were so brilliant their ideas and works outlasted everyone else generations over.
Or they died penniless because they lived in terrible times or probably didn’t save money when they were in favor. Kind of like star atheletes of today, yet, we value them.
I mean, look at what happened to some of these people. Here and here. Almost none of those people died poor because their art wasn’t good or didn’t sell. They had real problems. Wars destroyed their economy or they spent every dime defending themselves for the “crime” of being gay. Come on. They could have just been bad with money, but that would be true with any career they had.
You don’t hear about the artists who have been paid brilliantly while the greats have withered in despair. But we’ll get to artists’ emotional states in another post, mmkay.
For every Manet who didn’t treat his syphilis (surprisingly, that’s pretty common among those randy painters), there were others you never heard of who made buckets of money. The Kinkade of yesteryear, if you will. In 500 years, no one will remember Kinkade, but we’ve all seen his mall kiosks. I mean, I just spelled his name two different ways and neither were correct. If it wasn’t for Google, we’d have already forgotten. Just saying.
It doesn’t help that when you google “most successful artists of all time,” the art and impact is what is tallied and not the income they made when they were alive. That’s absurdly counterinuitive. Should we care about making a difference or making money?
Even when they’ve died penniless though, many have lived a life full of riches and surrounded by royalty. I’m a bit okay with living it up while I’m alive and not having anything to take with me.
So now that have covered that, let’s get into why today is the best time to be an artist.
Every. Single. Thing. You looked at today had an artist involved in the making.
You know how we have advertisements shoved in our faces 24/7? Artists helped create those. Storyboard artists help with conceptualizing commercials and tv shows. Websites? Artists, or graphic designers as they are commonly called, created that. TV shows? Storyboard artists.
Can we have a moment of silence for the artists who create every single form of entertainment we all take for granted every day of our lives? Or how about the artists who create art to hand on the walls of those fictional homes on your favorite show? The costume designers. The make-up artists. The writers. Game developers.
They all fight for our pleasure. They all create for our consumption.
Interior designers, bakers. Your phone had to have someone design the look of it. That’s an artist.
Y’all. We’re everywhere.
We have untold opportunities for careers.
Are we all going to be the next Da Vinci? No. If the last 500 years have anything to say, none of us will be.
We can make a living though.
Please stop taking us for granted and telling artists their jobs are literally worthless. We help make this world worth looking at.
If you buy fine art from artists you know, you’ll help us all. If you buy mass produced prints from Bed, Bath, and Beyond, yes, an artist gets paid a percentage, but your friend who is busting their butt to get off the ground suffers. There will always be people who buy those prints. You won’t always know the artist when you can afford their work.
Can you imagine being the person who bought the first few Picasso’s?
We don’t all want to be Da Vinci. Some of us just want to be appreciated while we are alive.