I really don’t think people think that doing art is work and I don’t know if I can blame them. I didn’t use to believe you can make money with art but I have been proven wrong. You see your favorite artist making money off their art (sometimes enough to do it full time), didn’t start out that way. Most artists that have had any sort of longevity will tell you that getting there was a long arduous process. We however live in the age of Youtube and Instagram fame, and viral fame, which gives a person a much shorter route to money and fame. I see that this caliber of some artists and it makes many people feel as if they themselves can do what they see artists doing. Add in the internet and the accessibility to everything and you’ll find the mess we have before us in our present time.
I said this to warn up and coming artists: do not come into whatever field you are entering and expect to make a profit right away. You are not entitled to success, a platform, or even compensation. All of these things are fought for and won. In other words: you have to legitimately earn what you believe you deserve. Expecting to be paid out the gate is like the Soundcloud rapper hopping on the track proclaiming “you know who it is” and really thinking that people do. Really? I promise you it doesn’t work like that, it just doesn’t.
I find it interesting how people want to tour the nation, when their own city and state don’t even rock with them because they might not even know about them. People want to get paid but have never performed a gig for free, or want to rock a stadium but have never performed in front of a crowd of twenty or less. Have you ever been paid in iTunes gift cards, free meals, or have you been promised payment and none ever came? Do you believe you deserve to be where your top five are after you’ve competed in cut throat competitions, have doubted whether you are talented, tried to quit and came right back, and have invested a lot of time, money, and resources into perfecting your craft? Are you content to keep going anyway if you never “blow up?” If you never “get on” wherever on is, will you still continue to do what you believe is your passion?
The above questions were not meant to be rhetorical, they were meant for you to ponder and then honestly answer. The things I asked and even more scenarios, I never even touched on are all a part of this unavoidable thing called The Process. Anyone who was or is great had to go through this, and yeah for some it was longer and others it was shorter, but they all had to go through it just the same. It seems everyone wants to be great but nobody wants to be under pressure or get cut. That’s what happens to coal and makes it into the diamonds that you see in the jewelry store. If it doesn’t take hard work to get and maintain it, you probably shouldn’t want it. It wasn’t made to last long anyway. I’m no one famous, but I am an upcoming poet who has been performing in my local scene for five years and the doors are now just beginning to open for me to make money off my craft. I’m just telling you what I have observed in my relatively short time of being a performing artist. Think hard and pray if you should continue, because the life of an artist is not for the faint of heart.