In my last post, Is Creating Art Hard Work?, I asked if creating is a chore. This question started a great discussion about the attitudes and approaches you take to your creative process.
I also gave readers the opportunity to participate in a simple poll where I asked if creating art is more work or pleasure. This poll is far from scientific, and the available responses don’t allow for much nuance. This was intentional. I feel it’s revealing to see how artists responded when faced with the binary choice to decide if creating is work or pleasure. I know that for most of you, creating art is a mix of work and pleasure (as any kind of work can be, depending on attitude).
I hope you find it interesting to see how your experiences and attitudes line up against those of fellow readers.
So, keeping in mind the limitations of this poll, here are the results as they currently stand. So far we’ve had 453 readers respond to the poll.
(Click on the charts to see them at full size)
Results Based on Whether an Artist Is Making a Living by Their Art
When I filter those responses to look at whether the respondent is making a living from their art, something interesting, though probably predictable, happens. For artists who aren’t selling their work at all, as well as for those who are selling a moderate amount of work but not relying on those sales for their primary source of income, a little over half consider creating to be hard work. The percentages are fairly similar among both groups.
For artists who rely solely on their art for income, the result is pretty dramatically different. Fully 75% consider creating to be hard work. Only a quarter feel it is more pleasure than work.
Results from Artists Who Are Not Selling Their Work, or Selling Very Little
Results from Artists Who Are Selling A Moderate Amount of Art But Don’t Rely on The Sales For Their Income
Results from Artists for Whom Sales Are Their Sole Source of Income
Again, these results aren’t scientific, and I suspect if I had given you a choice to say that art is both hard work and pleasure, I would have had the vast majority of you make that choice.
These results do reflect what I’ve experienced in my interactions with artists. Those artists who have decided to devote themselves full-time to their work and who rely on the sales of their art for their support approach the creative process with a different outlook.
It’s not that they aren’t deriving pleasure from the work, or that it’s an unenjoyable chore to create. Rather, I would say that they approach their studio time with a level of seriousness and determination. Most feel that they can’t afford to wait until they want to create, or for the muse to strike. Instead, they have to push themselves to get into the studio and create. They have to be productive.
In my next post we’ll explore discipline in the studio and we’ll talk about the different approaches artists take to push themselves to work harder and in more focused ways.
What do you Think?
Do the results of this poll reflect your approach to your art? Are the results surprising? Share your thoughts in the comments below.