I don't think we should have to make choice. If you do something you love (like art) you should still get paid for it, as do doctors and lawyers and university presidents, etc. There are many lucrative professions that are also creative. (Forbes just listed their top money-making DEAD people. Take a look to see what they did for money.)
The professional artists I know have figured out they want to get paid for their work. so that's pretty much settled.
What about students?
Do you think students should sell their work while they are in the process of learning? I am torn. As a student I was so busy trying to figure things out I had very little, well let's say, no interest in selling my work. (I sold the drawing at left to a friend only a couple of years ago, and she caught me off-guard!)
I was tapped by a publisher to do some illustrations for a book and got paid. But I worked for my money since I was old enough to babysit. I had an art supply store job for most of the undergrad years and was a weekly consultant at a public school during grad school.
I routinely turned down offers for purchases. One I still feel badly about was a mother and child piece that a woman in New Haven, who was really moved by it, wanted and I said "no". I felt that I needed to keep my work so I could figure out what I was doing and see a continuum of my process. I was trying to find my voice.
But my reluctance aside, do you think students should or should not sell their work and WHY????
The sketches above are both my student work. I reluctantly sold the portrait sketch a few years ago.