I recently shared a photo on Facebook titled “10 things that should never be said to artists”. Find this post here! The list is not an exhaustive list, as many have been adding their own annoying things that have been said to them. I have received such a huge response that I decided to post it here, and add some of my personal things that I hate to hear to the list.
What artist hasn’t heard at least one of these annoying comments?
Well, all my life… The fact is, a painting does not take just the amount of time spent in front of the canvas. It usually takes a lifetime of training to create great art. In essence, time spent at a painting is the sum total of all the time spent at creating in your life, since every other artwork led up to that one.
12. Can you do a painting just like this one?
If I wanted to directly copy another artist’s work, I would not have went to art school. Besides, such a request is immoral… and illegal.
13. Did you go to school to learn how to draw/paint like that?
Its surprising how many people ask me this. I sometimes hear this from people who I have known for years. It’s a reasonable question at times, especially if coming from an art buyer who is curious about my professional training.
The fact is, people do not have to go to school to become an artist, though it does help greatly. There are many very talented self-trained artists who have been creating for years. Many of the artists featured in the Artpromotivate artist spotlights are self-taught.
14. You charge too much. No one around here will ever buy that for that price.
As much as I hate to hear this, it is painfully true – at least the second part. My larger paintings never sell locally, mostly because I have to charge seemingly outrageous prices. (I live in a small town of 500 people)
Some of my larger paintings took me months to complete. If I only calculated minimum wage for the time spent creating, my price would still be in the thousands.
My recent works are small… mostly 8x10’s, many of which I have not posted online yet. These are much faster to paint, and take much less materials.
Therefore, I am able to sell smaller paintings for much cheaper.
15. If you were in Toronto/New York/bigger city, etc. you would become famous.
Such a move would only require a pre-existing job to go to. Moving there takes money, and supporting them while I’m establishing myself takes more money.
My only professional training is as an artist, so I would probably have to work all the time at some minimum wage labour job, with no time for creating and promoting art.
16. If I had a talent like yours I would be making lots of money with it.
If these people have some secret or magic trick to sell more art, I would like to know it. The truth is, they would do no better than I am in my situation. I work very hard at promoting my art, and I am making some money selling my artworks and with portrait commissions – but not a lot.
17. If you painted things that people can understand, maybe more people will buy it.
This is one of the biggest insults for an artist. They are saying that my artwork cannot be understood. They are also saying that I should only paint for other people, and not myself.
It’s true that in commission work, I paint what the client wants, but my own work is from myself – it will not be changed for anyone.
18. If you become an artist, you will probably have to go on welfare/EI.
Now this is something I heard often when I decided to go to art school. The joke was that instead of drawing pictures, I would be drawing unemployment. Many chuckled at that joke, but the reality is that it is painfully true. Many artists, myself included, have had to go on unemployment often. But, unemployment insurance is not just for artists. People in seasonal jobs here in the fishery have to go on EI every single year.
Now that I have gotten a lot of my frustrations out, it is time to hear from you.
Have you heard any of these comments from others? Do you have any things that you hate to hear about your art to add to this list?
Please state them below.