What does it take to be an artist?

Artist Barbara Rachko's Studio

Artist Barbara Rachko’s Studio

Artist Barbara Rachko recently wrote a note on her Facebook page entitled, “How Do I Do It?” She shared some important thoughts on the personal qualities of artists, some challenges of being an artist, and what it takes to live an artist’s life. I immediately responded to her candidness about the realities of being an artist and what it takes. Here’s an excerpt:

“Into the mix add these facts. We need to be good business people. Even if we are, we are unlikely to make much money. We are not respected as a profession. People often misunderstand us: at best they ignore us, at worst they insult our work and us, saying we are lazy, crazy, and more.

The odds are stacked against any one individual having the necessary skills and stamina to withstand it all.

So many artists give up, deciding it’s too tough and just not worth it, and who can blame them?

This is why I believe artists who persevere over a lifetime are true heroes. It’s why I do all I can to help my peers. Ours is an extremely difficult life – it’s impossible to overstate this – and each of us finds our own intrinsic rewards in the work itself. Otherwise there is no reason to stick with it.”

I can relate to this on many levels. Sometimes when I think of art making I think  of the word calling and that the word is an understatement. For artists, making art is more like a basic need, and being able to fulfill that need is met with many obstacles in life — an exhausting day job maybe? finding the time to take care of family responsibilities and make art maybe? perhaps a chronic illness? The challenges are clearly there. But we get keep going.

Barbara recently published an e-book , From Pilot to Painter — her artist’s story. I just bought a copy.

What’s your story? We are seeking written or video submissions for our upcoming online library, a social justice project, and would love to hear from you.




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