The work of the artists puts them directly in the public eye, so they often have to deal with inappropriate and offensive comments about their chosen career. While there might be situations where some of the statements below are true for some individuals, we compiled a list of 15 most common misconceptions about artists in general, regardless of the art they create.
1. Art is all fun and no real work
Creating art may seem like a lot of fun and play from the outside. Yet, just imagine all the practicing and training artists have to go through before they can show their creation to the world. It’s not just real work – it’s hard work.
2. All artists are perfectionists
The truth is, nobody is perfect, and we all know it. Striving for perfection is one thing, but achieving it is an impossible task. We could say artists are deeply devoted to their art, very detail-oriented, and they take their time to create the final piece as they see it in their mind’s eye. Once it’s out there, and anyone can see it, they become vulnerable, exposed, and criticism can arise. Wouldn’t you try to do it the best you can if you were in their shoes?
3. Artists are very emotional
Emotions are part of us human beings, and artists have the best means to express them – through their art. Actors are often considered to be highly emotional, but in reality, they are just receptive people who can easily connect with people’s emotions and experiences. That makes them empathetic; it doesn’t mean they are constantly sobbing when they are alone.
On the other hand, we have all heard that comedians are usually depressed. This myth should also be dismissed. Most of us deal with many things and can become depressed from time to time. Comedians just decide to take that inner pain and share it on stage. There are far more depressed professions, and just because we don’t hear about deeply sad lawyers or accountants, it doesn’t mean they are less prone to develop some mental illness.
4. Artists are always broke
Some artists may be broke; others may be high on the success ladder. Like in any other job, you can be good or bad, a beginner, or an experienced professional. Also, many times, it’s a matter of choice – artists can either devote themselves entirely to their art, and if it means starving to death, then so be it, either support themselves with a second and even a third job to survive. As long as they have a goal and do what works for them in order to reach it, we shouldn’t be bothered by their level of income.
5. Artists are not smart enough to have a different career
This is most definitely not true. Artists have to put a lot of work into their passion and often give up on a lot of things if they want to succeed. Furthermore, intelligence comes in many forms, so just because someone is not book smart, it doesn’t necessarily mean he or she wouldn’t be an amazing musician, actor or dancer.
6. Artists are eccentric
When we think about artists, we tend to portray them as being different from the rest of the world. Somehow, people always imagine them as smokers and heavy drinkers, who have lots of tattoos and piercings along with an overly unusual style, and act promiscuously. The matter of fact is, their common trait is their creativity, which is more typical for open-minded and easygoing people, and that may manifest in a non-casual appearance. But, they hardly share this physical identity as a group. We know of a lot of artists who don’t fit this mold, and that certainly doesn’t make them less of what they are.
7. Artists live in dreamland
Who doesn’t like to escape from reality from time to time? Well, artists have this impressive ability to do so, and the rest of us can only envy them. Their unique perspective allows them to create different worlds, and momentarily become part of them. Whether it’s a painting with a deep meaning, a photo that had frozen a very special moment in someone’s life, or a movie role that lets them travel in different times and dimensions, artists are, in a way, superheroes. And, to debunk this ridiculous misconception, they don’t live in dreamland, they create it. It’s when we allow ourselves to soak up their art that we can also fully experience it.
8. Artists are loners
Artists work best alone. Art itself is often a one-person job, so it makes sense for artists to distance themselves, away from all distractions and influences. Writers, illustrators, and animators, for example, need their own space where they can release their creative flow and, at the same time, protect their ideas until they finish their piece of art and share it publicly. We can’t blame them for this approach, but we also can’t assume that they don’t like people and socializing based on their artistic process.
9. Artists need to suffer to create great art
It’s widely believed that true inspiration comes from pain. Unfortunately, suffering alone is not a golden ticket to creating perfect art. On the contrary, if artists start to believe in this myth, they may isolate themselves and distant even more from their work. Inspiration can stem from many different emotions and experiences. Suffering is just one of them.
10. Artists can only make it in places like Los Angeles or New York
Although New York and LA are great places to be for painters, actors, and musicians, there are no real geographical limits to creative expression. Surely, it might be worth visiting these places for some training programs and opportunities. Still, art is created all over the world, and today, with the help of social media, people can appreciate it wherever they are.
Let’s give another reason to dispel this misconception. Starting artists might feel it’s a dream come true to be in the heart of art, but it actually might be better to gain some experience first, instead of becoming just a small fish in the pond. Another example is comedians. Locals might perceive them as funny, but the same jokes might not work best for a different audience.
11. Artists don’t have to deal with money and business problems
Probably many artists wish this was true, but unfortunately, it isn’t. Nowadays, even more than ever, they have to put a lot of energy into their marketing if they want to run a successful business. Luckily, in this era of technology-operated world and many social media outlets that anyone can learn to use, their job becomes easier.
12. Artists aren’t real if they don’t make a living out of their art
This is one of the most irritable misconceptions about artists. No one becomes professional overnight, and it would be more accurate to measure the “artists’ realness” by the level of passion they employ to create their art.
13. Real artists have to study art at college
Formal education certainly won’t hurt, but is it necessary to become competent and respected? You know the answer. As long as artists teach themselves through reading, watching tutorials, and attending workshops, a degree is not essential. If you are a photographer, your clients most probably won’t care for your educational background, but they would be very interested to see what you have done in the past and assess your photographic style.
14. Artists need to be born with a talent
Talent is an important part of being a good artist. However, it is not the only ingredient for a successful career in art. While a certain natural inclination is crucial, pure talent isn’t. Let’s take musicians, for example. Oftentimes, talent has nothing to do with their musical ability. Far more important is the time and focus they invest in practicing as well as their unstoppable willingness to become good. While we are on this topic, you might find our article on 12 Do’s and Don’ts to Become A Successful Artist useful.
15. Art is just a hobby
Many people don’t consider creating art a real job, but a hobby. It makes sense. Creating art is a hobby. How awesome is it that these people can make it into a paying job?
How can we set these common misconceptions about artists straight, once and for all?
Artists can sometimes seem like some otherworldly creatures who live in their own world, which is difficult for others to understand. In order to stop the stereotyping and social belittlement, which is often a part of it, it’s better to accept that being different is not a bad thing. And anyway, no one should defend their point of view, personal style or creative process to others. Your shield should be your talent, your passion, and your unbeatable desire to be an extraordinary artist. Time will come when others would have to stop commenting about your looks, emotions, and background because they’ll be busy acknowledging your success.
How many of these common misconceptions about artists have you heard of? Which one grinds your gears the most? Let us know in the comments. And, if you haven’t already, don’t forget to register as an artist on our social media platform. It’s free, and you’ll be able to promote your work, connect with fans, and find gigs easily. Whereas we might not be able to change the general perception of artists altogether, we can at least make it easier for you to find real work and get paid for what you do best.