Viner graphic for On Being an Artist

Light in the Darkness (c) Corinne Viner

Becoming an artist is not the hard part. The hard part is doing the art, over and over. The hard part is bearing your own missed expectations about what your art should look like. The hard part is doing your work especially when the world tries to fill up your time with its own concerns.

The hard part of being a non-full-time artist is sitting down to the art even after a full day’s work at your day job(s). It’s choosing between getting the dishes done and making your art. It’s choosing between family and friends and art. It’s choosing to lose sleep so you don’t have to choose art over your family. It’s not having the time to branch out or take those leaps you can see in front of you.

The hard part of being a professional artist is how the work never stops. It’s admin work behind the scenes and constant uncertainty. It’s guilt for pleasure projects that you know won’t bring money in. It’s constantly having to assess which piece will be an asset and how to make the next piece an asset too. It means creative risks feel expensive, because they frequently are.

For all this, the world would be a much poorer place without art and artists who are willing to take the risks and spend the long hours. It takes skill and practice and long hours doing things which if done well will be invisible. It takes so much behind the scenes work for every play or podcast or painting or song, but is so worthwhile in the end.

I know my life would be much poorer without the paintings, books, music, TV shows, movies, etc. that have shaped my life. My city would be poorer for a lack of murals, gardeners, and events giving it life. I wish the structure to support artists in our society was more robust and that the arts were not the first thing to be cut in the budget.

I wish so many of my friends in the arts were not in so precarious position now (April 2020, with the Covid pandemic) in working jobs with no benefits, in having their main sources of income shut down. I wish artists whose work can be defined as being “prurient” were not discriminated against right now, when every other business can participate in the CARES act. It’s a hard time to be an independent creator.

It’s not hard to be an artist. It’s hard to keep being an artist.

Corinne Viner is a self-taught artist from Sparks, Nevada who currently lives and paints in Madison, Wisconsin. She is much too ADD to settle on one art style and instead usually has three or four works in progress at any one time. Her broad focus is in finding the hidden or subtle beauty in people and nature and drawing it out. Corinne’s artwork has been featured in several of LFAE’s exhibits.


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