It’s an age-old debate, and an old joke. The term “starving artist” is part of our vernacular. But lest we forget that some enter the arts to make money, and are often disappointed, I stumbled across this tweet today:
WRITING TIP: Become familiar with red & white wines because, unless ur parents are rich & support u, you’ll be working hospitality forever.
— Lyle Clip Art (@Kyle_Lippert) June 14, 2016
The same could be said of any artist, right? Musician, painter, dancer, etc. A small percentage become rich and famous, and perhaps that motivates some to enter those professions. But others are content to do it for the sheer pleasure it brings to them, without concern for monetary gain. Does it matter?
Does the artist that “sells out” truly do damage to the craft? Or is it just sour grapes and envy among her peers that lead them to make such comments? Does it matter?
I’m sure it does to some. I haven’t decided yet if it matters to me. Certainly every writer dreams of writing the Great American Novel – I’d be lying if I said I hadn’t fantasized about it. But for every Andy Weir, there have got to be a thousand (ten thousand?) other authors like me. Is money at the root of that dream? Should it be?