Came across an interesting thread on Y! today. One of the artists that I watch there had referred to a discussion that was going on on one of the boards that his art had been posted on. One of the commenters criticized the artist: "All he does is commissions".
Let's ignore the fact that the commenter probably knows as much (or as little) about this artist as do you and I, meaning not much, so we don't know what *else* this artist does.
This started a discussion on Y!, on the artist's journal. One commenter said: "Plus ... only does commissions? Uh ... do people not know the term "Freelance" how the fuck do they expects us to make any fucking money? " A sentiment I heartily agree with.
And then there was this answer:
"*Raises hand* Working back-braking honest jobs and all of that?
Not saying taking commisions doesn't take work or is wrong, but. Yeah. There are artists that just draw because they enjoy to share their works with others as they love the process and outcome of drawing/painting, and hardly ever take, ask or do commisions. Once again not saying everyone has to apply to it, but... yes, there are alternatives, and no, not everyone that knows how to draw whores his/her skills for money. *Thumbs up*"
Hm... was my first thought. I allowed myself to ask this person what s/he thought artists live from?
"Depends on your definition of art, artists and so forth. Quite subjective, I tell you... Doubt I can call someone that does his/her trade for money an artist, perhaps a sellout drawer, writer or painter, but certainly not an artist. I suppose within my definition of artist, personal and subjective as it is, an artist is likely to pay his/her rent and food with whatever job she or he has in this adorably decadent society of ours as s/he paints, draws or writes for enjoyment and escapism.
Sprouting from that someone might actually pay interest in what s/he has done for, once again, enjoyment, escapism or to manifest his/her feelings/thoughts, purchasing it in the process were the artist willing to part ways with it.
Now, just doing what you are told for money? Might be art for someone, for my own definition of art; it doesn't work that way."
and then adds in a second comment:
"My definition of art is for the sake of pleasure, self-expression and sharing, not for monetary benefits. "
So, dear FList, what do you think? Is art only art when it's done for pleasure and self-expression? Is an artist only an artist if they don't earn money from their work? Do you *stop* being an artist the moment that you take money for what you do?