14 Pros and Cons of Being an Artist

The earliest cave drawings were done as long as 65,000 years ago.

What that tells us about human nature is that we’ve always been creative and have yearned to express it.

As art has evolved over the years, so have technique and subject matter.

The definition of art is ever-changing, which means that almost anything can qualify.

Just because it counts as art, will it make you a profitable artist?

That’s one of the topics we’re going to explore as we give a deep dive into the pros and cons of being an artist. 

Pros of Being an Artist

1. Job Variety

There are many different fields of employment that need the skills of an experienced artist.

These jobs range in a wide variety of fields.

To name a few, there are video game design, interior decorating, advertising, and even television or film.

Also, if none of those fields strike your fancy, you could always just work as a freelance artist.

You might want to bounce around between several various positions before settling on one path.

The sky is the limit.

2. Passion

Many people today have jobs that they hate or don’t feel challenged by.

Everyone wants a career that they truly enjoy and feel like they are doing what they were meant to do.

Being an artist can give a person a feeling of fulfillment.

It’s the type of job that many artists have been practicing since childhood.

Doodles are the beginnings of an interest that evolves into a passion.

There’s nothing quite like the feeling of being able to freely express yourself, and also looking forward to waking up to go to work each morning.

3. Location

Most artists work indoors.

That’s due to the uninterrupted freedom that comes with being able to create inside a controlled, peaceful environment.

However, at any time, you can choose to travel to a location that you may find inspiring. 

Setting up in front of a view that gets your creative juices flowing can make magic. 

It has you yearning to share the beauty with others by painting or drawing it on canvas.

4. Self-Employment

Just imagine yourself going to work every day and nobody telling you what to do.

Managers and CEOs may know what this feels like, but the average Joe likely does not.

Being an artist can give that to you.

Work at your own pace and move from project to project to what you feel inspired by.

Knowing that there is no rush can offer peace of mind that will equate to a higher quality piece.

No getting in trouble with the head honcho.

5. Too Cool For School

In today’s business world, many jobs aren’t offered to those who don’t have at least a bachelor’s degree.

While getting a college education is a great thing to aspire to achieve, it isn’t necessarily a prerequisite to becoming an artist.

There are plenty of companies out there who look to contract freelance artists.

They often need help to complete projects that require specific skills to stand out against the competition.

6. Freedom of Expression

Not everyone is skilled at expressing themselves with words.

Introverts find it difficult to start up a conversation, share their feelings, or talk about themselves with people who they aren’t familiar with.

Artists can share all kinds of feelings with the entire world through their art.

Expressions such as sadness, anger, happiness, and other emotions can be experienced by looking at a piece.

In fact, through interpretation, there are a plethora of feelings a viewer can get, even ones unintended. 

A beautiful thing about being an artist is having the ability to express many different things through their art.

7. No Wrong Way

Art is in the eye of the beholder.

What some people find ugly, others may find beautiful.

Because of that broad spectrum of interpretation, it makes art infallible.

There is no right or wrong way, no untouchable subject.

That fact alone can inspire an artist, knowing that even though one person may get nothing out of a piece, someone else can be emotionally moved by it. 

Cons of Being an Artist

1. Money

While top artists can make a lot of money and achieve fame and notoriety, starting off can be difficult.

Many who choose to try and become an artist may find it necessary to get a second job just to pay the bills.

Finding demand and notoriety takes many years and some may get discouraged.

It’s not uncommon for young artists to give up and try something else.

Also, the purchase of equipment to create art can get expensive and daunting.

2. Client’s Demands

While you may not have a boss as an artist, certain careers in the field will have you working on a project for someone who may be difficult.

Art is commissioned for a variety of projects, whether for business or private reasons.

These clients can be difficult to work with due to their ever-changing expectations or their evolving wants for a project that you have already finished.

This can be extremely discouraging for an artist, who may feel like they aren’t being appreciated for what they do.

3. Critics

While art is meant to be completely subjective by the person viewing it, the art critic has discouraged many artists.

Art is not meant to be held against other works.

However, a critic’s published comments on an artist’s piece can cause others not to even view their work.

In some instances, a negative review can halt the career of an artist by making them feel as if they aren’t skilled enough.

If that doesn’t prompt imposter syndrome, nothing would.

4. Sick Art

The feeling of creative freedom and expression is what draws many to becoming an artist.

In an effort to set themselves apart, many artists are exposed to harmful elements.

Continued exposure to dangerous chemicals such as solvents and paint thinners can be extremely dangerous to work with.

Constantly breathing harmful fumes and the possibility of direct exposure, like liquids splashing in their eyes, can be an ongoing danger that artists have to be aware of.

5. Job Security

Our economy is ever-changing, and the demand for artists’ skills can fluctuate between highs and lows.

This can cause a “starving artist” situation.

Some in the field struggle to find work to support themselves or even a whole family.

It necessitates them having to search for work in other fields until the demand for their skills goes back up again.

As you would imagine, this can be extremely stressful.

6. Choosing a Medium

Many find the need to express themselves artistically but may find it difficult to choose a medium they feel comfortable with.

Whether it be drawing, painting, or sculpting, finding the one that you feel skilled enough to focus on might be a lot to ask.

Having to make that decision can be discouraging.

7. Depression

Many of us have gone through times of depression due to things in our lives that just aren’t going our way.

Whether it is due to financial woes or personal problems, depression is something that many of us go through on a daily basis.

Artists have the ability to use their depression to create art, and by doing so are able to cope.

Others find it debilitating to their creative process, because of the ever-constant stress of having to live by creating.

This may cause many artists to give up on their artistic skills and look to start a new career altogether.

Trying to find a new career path when you’ve already put many years into being an artist, is something most will find difficult. 

Pros and Cons of Being an Artist – Summary Table

Pros of Being an ArtistCons of Being an Artist
1. Job Variety1. Money
2. Passion2. Client's Demands
3. Location3. Critics
4. Self-Employment4. Sick Art
5. Too Cool For School5. Job Security
6. Freedom of Expression6. Choosing a Medium
7. No Wrong Way7. Depression

Should You Become an Artist?

There are lots of wonderful things about being an artist.

From expressing yourself to making something that touches the heart of others, art is a powerful medium.

However, making a career out of it can prove to be more difficult.

Even van Gogh had to have his brother support him.

If you have the patience to grow as an artist and build that into a business, it can be the most beautiful thing you do with your life.

If you don’t have the passion it takes to wait and see, it might not be the right career for you. 

Jamie Willis
Career Specialist at BecomeopediaHi, my name is Jamie Willis, and I have been helping students find their perfect internships and education paths for the last ten years. It is a passion of mine, and there really is nothing better than seeing students of mine succeed with further studies.

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