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How do I cultivate an artistic career when the financial incentive is secondary or in some cases detrimental to the principles of my values

I have made a conscious decision to make more of my passions and abilities. I am at the beginning stages of starting a family, and cannot realistically raise children and support my wife to be on my current wage. I do not wish to invest any more of myself in a career I resent purely to meet these financial pressures, I want to invest my time and energy in the things I am truly passionate about, however believe that the necessity to create for a financial gain is detrimental to the creativity itself. The saturation of creative markets with people trying to make a living out of their arts means that just creating is no longer a viable lifestyle choice, without the sacrifice of the woman I love and the family we hope to build. I do not want to abandon the fundamental principles I have about the value of art being greater than that of money, but not at the expense of my family. Compromise?


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  • Jun 19 2013: Thank you to everyone tht has contributed so far, the discussion, advice and information, regardless of whether I agree with it or not, is helpful, as I have been struggling to find a decent forum for logical discourse. The only instance where I feel the need to clarify is in the conflict between family and art. The two for me are not independent, my artistic development and progression is intrinsically dependent on the incredible woman who supports and motivates me, the shared desire to build a family and a value set of love, passion,honesty and integrity we have built together, my relationship basically forms, or at least re-affirms the very foundations of my artistic viewpoint.The dilemma lies in the conflict between these strong values and the necessity to forgoe some of them in order to create a modern, viable business. The focus on driving towards being able to cultivate financial integrity at the expense of artistic. I am aware that to discount financial stability for principles seems counter-intuitive, and is probably foolish, hence the personal debate, however I would always rather give a painting to someone who is investing something of themselves in the art than be paid by someone who isn't.
    Cheers again guys, your viewpoints are all helping me work through the problems.
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      Jun 19 2013: I don't understand what you mean when you say "discounting financial stability for principles seems counter-intuitive." Many people choose to work for a lower wage in order to do something that is important to them. Further, many people would prefer to do full-time whatever is their passion and wish there was some way their financial needs would be met through that.

      You are not suggesting these positions are somehow counter-intuitive, are you? I would say they are very common.
      • Jun 19 2013: You have to take what I am saying in context. Logically, is it not reasonable for me to paint for no money but refuse to pursue financial gain on principle, hence counter-intuitive. I am attempting to try and make the most of my enthusiasm and ability for art without compromising my principles to a point where I would start to contradict the things I believe in.
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          Jun 19 2013: It seems totally intuitive that someone would want to paint without regard for payment for it and also not want to seek financial gain on principle. It is a common interest, I think, among artists.

          It is entirely a consistent position from a logical standpoint but not practical unless there is an outside source of support.
      • Jun 19 2013: You are arguing semantics whilst totally ignoring the actual question posed. This is frustrating.
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          Jun 19 2013: Sorry. I only want to convey that your question and interest is one shared by many, many people- of wanting to do what they love, regardless of remuneration but also needing to earn money to live on.
      • Jun 19 2013: That's ok, I appreciate what you are saying, and you are right.
    • Jun 19 2013: If what you create is of value--someone will pay you for it. It is ok to give your work away to someone who appreciates it, but can't afford it. Frank Lloyd Wright did it for a small house. Many artists did it for the Vogels in NYC ( a postman and a librarian), yet the sold their other works for high prices to ones who could afford it. By selling to the collectors, they could afford to give to the lovers of their work.

      No one should ever sell themselves short. If you are a professional artist you should be compensated for it and you should ask fair market price for your work-and not feel compromised by it. By being compensated , you can create more, better creative things. You can afford to change genres of art if you wish. Compensation actually gives you more creative freedom and choices in your art.

      to read up on the Vogels go here:


      a great 60 minutes piece on them

      Their Blog:

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