The artists I know love their work, but also consider making art their job. Jobs are supposed to earn you money!Singers love to sing, dancers love to dance, preachers love to preach and the bills love to be paid. And you can bet that all of the above folks love (and expect) to see those checks coming in when they perform.
It is not bad to be rewarded for your efforts. You need money to buy new shoes!
It is also about respect. Respect for the time and effort it takes to produce art. Respect for the money artists spend to purchase materials. Respect for the thousands of dollars some artists pay to get their training in traditional, and other art programs. Artists travel to learn, go to workshops and art centers that cost money. Why shouldn't we expect a return on our investment to develop our skills as a doctor or a chef would?
I learned the hard way that people love to brag about buying the art, not getting it as a gift. Unless it is your mother or other close family member, I say, do NOT give your art away...Forgetting my own policy I gave one small piece to someone last year who never even acknowledged the gift!
Years ago I remember giving a friend a drawing. Later on I went to visit him with my boyfriend and we were all chatting about his mother's art work that was hanging in his apartment. He suddenly announces, "yeah, I have to get myself a Joyce Owens one of these days". I said you have one!
Even if they pay a little...they have to pay us or we will be crying the same blues for eternity! People generally prefer to choose what they want and to pay for it.
Think about this, for a minute. Why drive a Mercedes, Jaguar or Ferrari instead of a Honda? They will all get you from point A to point B. So it it because they drive better? Probably. Because they have a nicer design? Possibly. And because people know it tells folks how much you are worth! A down coat is as warm as a fur coat and lightweight, but folks risk the wrath of PITA to wear that mink! Why? (You know why!)
This is the reason artists want to exhibit in mainstream venues when they can, such as commercial galleries and museums. As a Jaguar tells you a thing or two about the owner, that exhibition at the Brooklyn Museum, ACA Gallery, N'Namdi Gallery, June Kelly Gallery, Norman Parish Gallery, Studio Museum in Harlem, DuSable Museum, Museum of Greater Lafayette, Indiana, National Portrait Gallery , Jack Shainman Gallery and many other museums and galleries of national and international prominence including university galleries tells you a thing or two about the artist....
and it is nothing for artists be ashamed of or avoid!