For the Love of It

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    This post is by Clint Watson, former art gallery owner and founder of BoldBrush, known for FASO Artist Websites, the leading provider of professional artist websites, the $38,000+ BoldBrush Painting Competition and the free daily art marketing newsletter, FineArtViews. As a self-proclaimed "art fanatic", Clint delights that BoldBrush's downtown San Antonio, Texas office is full of original art, as is his home office which he shares with his two feline assistants Kiara and Lilly. You can connect with Clint on TwitterFacebook or his personal blog at clintavo.com

     

     

     

     

    An artist wrote me and said, "I do painting for the love, as I just explained to someone this morning, while defending all the money spent versus nothing sold.  I've never approached the easel with $$ in mind."

     

    Unfortunately in our money-driven, ROI-focused society, many people don't get it.  After all, why would this artist continue to "waste" money on her craft if nothing is selling?  It's tragic that she feels forced to defend her decision to spend money on the thing she enjoys most in her life.

     

    I, however, completely "get it."  It's really very simple.  She enjoys "The Maker's High" from painting, which is one of the greatest rushes anyone can have in this life.  There's a reason that "Creativity" is in the very tip, at the "self actualization" level of Maslow's Heirarchy of Needs.  

     

    You see, the artist who wrote me is an amateur artist.  And I mean that as a huge compliment, in the noblest sense of the word.  We seem to have destroyed the true meanings of the words amateur and professional. [1]

     

    The word “amateur” comes from a French word meaning: "lover of".  An amateur is someone who pursues the craft of something like music or art because they love doing it.  A professional does it for money. [2]

     

    I've often seen masterful works by "amateurs" and truly horrible schlock by "professionals."  In fact, I don't think an artist can achieve true mastery without working for the simple love of creating... as amateurs do.  I've occasionally met those who are in it mostly for money and their work is usually... lacking.

     

    I said above that I completely "get it."   Here's why:  when I was in high school and college, I fell in love with music and playing guitar.  That started my life-long love affair with guitar playing.  

     

    I can see people criticizing me for the amount of time and money I spend on my "amateur" guitar playing.  But it brings me joy.  "Blowing" money on creative endeavors is perfectly valid, and certainly better than "blowing" it on a trip to Vegas or most of the other trivial diversions modern society has designed to take our money.

     

    I'd rather spend four hours playing guitar than four hours wasting my life watching the latest reality TV any day.  And, I often do spend four hours playing.  It always amazes me how fast time disappears when you're in the "zone."  

     

    When you enjoy something creative to the point that you love doing it, and you spend hours and hours immersed in it, you deserve to work with great tools that make your time even more enjoyable...the best tools you can afford.  So, last year I bought a a rather expensive acoustic guitar [3] - it's the same guitar many "professional" players use on stage.

     

    Will I ever make money with my playing?  No, at least not seriously.  Do I care? No.  

     

    I have spent hours with that guitar and it's easily, in terms of enjoyment hours, the best large sum of money I've ever spent.  It's definitely not the last expensive guitar I'll purchase.


    People who don't "get" it, think it's a waste of money.  And that's sad for them.


    Remember, Sharing Art Enriches Life.

     

     

    Sincerely,

     

    Clint Watson

    BoldBrush/FASO Founder, Software Craftsman & Art Fanatic


    PS - I feel the same way about creating cool stuff with computer code.  Fortunately for me, that "gig" turned out to have a market, so I guess, technically, I'm a professional "Software Craftsman."   But I assure you - I remain an amateur at heart.

     

     

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    Footnotes:

     

    [1] We've done the same thing to the word gentleman.  In our society, we use the word "gentleman" to mean a "nice guy."  A gentleman in the historical sense was akin to someone in the noble class...someone who had a title and owned land.   "To a degree, gentleman signified a man with an income derived from property, a legacy or some other source, and was thus independently wealthy and did not need to work." [source]  So, until we screwed up the word, it was possible and, indeed often the case, that a man could be both a gentleman and, also, a real ass.

     

    [2]  http://simple.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amateur

     

    [3]  I didn't want to publicly give exact figures of what the guitar cost, but to share the order of magnitude, the price had three zeros, not two, at the end.

     

     

     

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    Editor's Note:  

    Today's post is an updated version from a few years ago, but we're republishing it again today because it's still a timely and relevant message. Enjoy!

     

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