In my last post, I tried to distinguish between two different art worlds: the one that I was familiar with as a young, self-taught artist who did most of her learning from the Internet, and the second that was full of professionals doing super adult things I never really knew you were supposed to do. In my explanation, I attributed the term “artist” to the “traditional art world” and left the people of the “Internet art world” (like myself) without a title.
But then some friends broke it down for me: people who make art are artists. The only distinction is your level of professionalism—is it more of a hobby or more of a career?
So I did some reading and found that an art career is commonly divided into three stages:
- A Hobbyist: someone who makes art for fun, whenever they feel like it, with no intention of selling.
- An Amateur/Emerging Artist/Semi-Pro: someone who makes art for fun, whenever they feel like it, with some intention of selling.
- A Professional Artist: someone who makes art for a living, consistently and frequently, with a significant chunk (if not all) of their income coming from selling their art products and services.
So in spying on meeting with all the artists and curators and photographers and impressive people around, I’ve just been seeing a different stage of the art career. But that doesn’t make hobbyists and amateurs any less skillful, talented or creative. We’re all still artists.
And I realize it’s not really my goal to become a professional either. I’m content with the amateur stage, but I still want aspects of professionalism to be found within my work if and when I sell a piece. And that's why I think it's worth learning all the nitty gritty technical and business aspects of the art world.
Up next, I’ll start replacing my materials with archival quality supplies, I’ll learn how to prime and prep my surfaces, how to finish them, frame them and hang them. There’s so much more to learn.