From the very beginning, as an art student, I had been told about the obstacles artists had to overcome to make their art. My mother insisted that I study art education if I wanted to major in art in college...I changed later when it became a choice between me completing my degree and dropping out. I found out that I could major in Painting!!! I quizzed my professor asking what I could do to make a living with a degree in Painting! I was sane and focused and from my experience there would be more than one obstacle to me making a living as an artist. The art history books explained the physical and mental issues artists had to manage. The poverty they faced without outside support meant a lack of materials, space and maybe even food and housing. The artists I read about, or my professors told me about, had difficult relationships, were reclusive, were surrounded by death, had tragic accidents leaving them impaired, and they probably did not earn much, if any, money. They were drunk, high or crazy! and relied on the whims of patrons, gallery owners, curators and collectors who could make or break their art careers! (They still can.)
Picasso was doing pretty well until he showed people his African art influenced Les Demoiselles d'Avignon, the painting considered a seminal moment, ushering in modern art. One of his contemporaries declared he should commit suicide! Luckily collectors Gertrude and Leo Stein saw Les Demoiselles as revolutionary, if others in the contemporary art community at the time did not. But see????At the time, what he did was nuts!
"Retro-racing Picasso" series
Neither this event, Picasso's infamous womanizing, etc. seemed to harm his career. As he and Georges Braque collaborated on Cubism the same gallery paid Picasso more for his work than Braque earned.
If you can't do something crazy, being born with an affliction helps, too! I already wrote about the miniature artist who has microscopes to view his VERY pricey art. Can artists achieve monetary and critical sucess without being a carnival act like the bearded lady or the dwarf boy or the "Siamese" twins? I recently read about a young boy with autism, a serious issue, who was obsessed with making art! Well, I am, too, (obsessed with making art) as were both my sons who filled up sketchbooks and paper from the time they could hold a pencil and scribble! Kyle Anderson drawing.
They were "normal" kids, so no press for their art work. I am not saying these special people should not be noticed; I am saying other artists should be, too.
There are stories about so-called idiot savants who can't tie their shoes, but make art, or legends such as Lee Godie who hung out in front of Chicago's Art Institute selling work to those she liked for $25 or $30 dollars. I recently spoke to someone who had made one of those purchases, spending $25.00. After Godie died her works sell into the thousands at galleries such as Intuit and Carl Hammer in Chicago.
So I still want to know why the "normal" artists don't get news stories and attention when they do good work, but don't act out! I make art because I love to. People say they purchase it because they feel what I put into it. According to Art Business we should all be able to make a living doing it - here's hoping you will be fine even if you don't feel like being crazy for your art!