Sunday, September 21, 2008

Am I Typical?

Several days ago I was visiting with a nice woman who asked me what my plans were for the remainder of the day. Paint! I yelped. The sky was wildly blue, the wind was nowhere to be felt, it was a day that just begged to be painted.

Oh, she said laughing, you know how to have fun. I'll bet you're a typical artist.


Just what is a typical artist? Oh, that one. No, not me. Not so much.

I don't own a big loud multi-tiered skirt. I don't have big hair. No birkenstocks either. I can tell time, and given enough of it I can add digits in my own head. I believe in starting meetings on time and finishing up quickly. I have several sports medals and trophies (admittedly none very recent) and have been known to attend sporting events. I don't always know what's going on, but I cheer with the best of them. I'm organized in my own way. I have no intentions of starving, either.

Does that make me odd?

Believe it or not, I don't know any typical artists. Not one. The artists I know are just like teachers and bankers and insurance salespeople. We show up for work. Sometimes we play hookey. We attend classes and workshops to educate ourselves in our chosen field. We wear sensible shoes and golf and visit our accountants regularly. We barbecue and go to church, or don't, and live pretty much like the rest of the world does. We also believe in getting paid for our services, just like the teacher, the banker and the insurance exec.

So maybe I should have educated her. Maybe I should have explained how normal we all are.

Maybe next time I will.

Are you typical?


Preenie said...

Educating people is the best possible resolution! I've had many discussions with some fellow artist's on this subject.
People in general believe that we just lollygag around in life and with our art. SOOOOO not true.
HARD,HARD work should be the definition of what creating art is.
WEll, we'll just keep on painting and enjoying every minute of it...
no matter what people think or believe. :) :) :)
No typical artist here.

Mavis said...

Now that you mention it, yes, I guess I really am typical… I am typical of the kind of artist you describe, Patricia, who likes to BBQ and have a good time with family and teach people how to do the things that give me pleasure. And, yes, I do like to have my work valued and to be compensated for it. Sure, I am typical! And I’m pleased to realize it, thanks!

Now, Stereotypical, the cookie-cutter image of the starving artist, addled and ill at ease, no, that’s something else altogether. Thanks, Patricia… I will go about my day now with a little tinkling bell in my mind… yes! I am typical! I am a typical artist! Hurray!

Patricia said...

Oh yes! Preenie, you just keep showing up and painting! We'll learn from your example.
Mavis, EXACTLY!! Love your sentiments. We are typical, but absolutely NOT stereotypical. Here's to being who we are!

Karine said...

Well, I for one AM a typical artist. I sit around all day, martini in one hand, paint brush in the other, with my dangling, weird earrings and long skirt, dabbing at a canvas.
I have no money, no savings, and I am a lazy bum.


Thanks for the great post. Being an artist takes a myriad of skills and determination. (no weird clothing needed.)