Why do artists do what they do?
Last night, at a dinner celebrating a friend's birthday we (mostly artists of one sort or another) had a discussion about doing the show circuit and why we continue to do it despite the work involved and the scraping by income that we receive for all the work.
My partner Janice, that does the shows with me, opined that we don't do it for the money...obviously, we do it because we love to create, meet those that share likes, know the customer that buys our wares face to face and maybe because, we couldn't do a nine to five anyway, not anymore...
The travel is great, the work is hard...setting up a 10'x10' tent, tables, display and then tearing it down again and driving 300 miles is not for the wimpy. Long hours are spent in the studio until your arms and back aches but you have a deadline to meet. Time and money filling out applications, trying to make presentable slides, jury fees that disappear...poof!...when you are rejected. You put up with all kinds of weather, disparaging remarks, made loudly in your tent, about "I could get that at (name a big department store) for so much less", and spending more, at times, on food and lodging than is made in a weekend at the venue...WHY? For all the reasons my partner stated and because, I would be making this stuff anyway, whether I did the shows or not and at least I am making enough to pay for the materials so I can continue to do what is a passion for me.
The birthday boy stated that he was done with the shows, except for a couple a year. He said he was tired of setting up a tent and listening to the critics who have no idea how much time and effort goes into his work. Ah well, not me...as long as I can hammer in the stakes, carry the boxes, survive the hurricane force winds, and still smile...I'll be there.
So, if you are an artist and you keep on despite the setbacks, what is it that drives you or have you thought about or given it all up?