Have you every worried if your art work was good enough, that you simply aren’t talented enough and that you are destined to struggle with your art without making money from it?

The truth is that every artist struggles with some degree of insecurity throughout their career.  Whether it be that you don’t feel worthy of success, or like many who create that you haven’t attended art school and haven’t got that piece of paper that validates you.

The Fiction

But did you know that the story of the struggling artist is just that, a story.  The origins are a Bohemian story written by a guy called Henri Murger.  He had travelled to Paris with hopes of being an artist and failed.  He blew all his money, was on death’s door and whilst he wasn’t a good artist, it turns out he was a great writer.

Rather than admit to his failings he created a world where the poor were as valued and important as the rich.  Where it was admirable to be poor and much as those who save lives.  It was a very Bohemian story.  Essentially the idea was that if you were an Bohemian you would either rise to the top of society or die a poor but honourable death.

He validated struggling.  He validated being poor. Some how we have lost the sociology of the time that there were few jobs as people moved from the country to the towns at the beginning of the industrial revolution.  Some how the story has end up in the psyche of artists.  To the extent that even today those who teach art perpetuate the fiction.

What about your art?

I guess there are a couple of things to remember when we think about our creations.

  • Everyone who is successful with their art had to start somewhere
  • Secondly – it is not your innate ability as an artist which makes you succeed it is your mindset.

Natural Talent

Let’s be honest there are some folks who are better at art.

  • They have better hand eye co-ordination,
  • They can draw what they see rather than what they think they see
  • They can spend time by themselves focused on a project.

But have you considered, to some extent, these things can be learnt even if for some it become more second nature.  Some people have a natural advantage, but to be a great artist, it takes practice.  It takes dedication.  The suggestion is that it takes 10,000 hours to become a master at something.

Even if you have a natural talent.

Clearly I’m not suggesting you spend that time creating before you consider selling.  What I would love you to hear is that, even for those with natural talent, it takes that amount of practice to become good.

Our Mindset

The great thing is that how we manage our mindset can be learnt as well.  At some point, we must give up the starving artists myth.  We expect to pay accountants for playing with numbers for a while, we expect to pay actors who pretend for a living so why not artist who are spend their time creating something beautiful?

Your art business comes from a place of passion talent and hard work.  Promoting your work is simple about telling people about your work and giving yourself permission to thrive.

Often a starving artist has this perspective

  • They are concerned that making money from their art prevents them from making good art work
  • They believe that good art sells itself so there is no need to actively promote themselves
  • Its only being in good galleries that means you will be successful. Something which is often hard to achieve if you are a self-taught artist
  • That struggling and being poor will make them a better artist


Let’s consider this from different perspective.  One which I would encourage you to consider

  • If you put effort towards making a living from your art you allow yourself time and energy to do what you love
  • When we proudly and consistently share our work and talent it helps our work sell.  You’re just doing what we all did in childhood before it became vain to show up as ourselves
  • There is no rule about how you must be an artist, discover who you are and create and sell that.  This is so much easier now with online sales, we no longer need to be tied to physical galleries
  • Making food work comes from passion, talent and hard work.  It is easier to do this when you are financially more secure which comes from selling your work at a good prices

My challenge to you

  • Pay attention to your thoughts, how do you talk about yourself and your art work?
  • How would you like your art to be considered and what type of artist do you want to be?  Who am I when it comes to being an artist?  Are you brave, fearless, colourful, bold, sensitive intuitive?  You get to decide.
  • Develop this.  In the online world, you have the power to create the way you want to be perceived but it starts with yourself.  Each day take one small step towards being the artist you want to be.

You do not have to be a struggling artist

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