An Artist’s Pet-Peeve/Soap Box

pet peeve
Urban Dictionary:  Something that a person finds especially annoying.
Merriam-Webster Dictionary:  A frequent subject of complaint.
I prefer the urban dictionary’s definition. I don’t give voice to all my pet-peeve’s, so I’m not sure complaint is appropriate. Then again, does a complaint need to be voiced in order to be considered a “complaint?” Hold on. I need to go check.
Merriam-Webster Dictionary:
1expression of grief, pain, or dissatisfaction
2: something that is the cause or subject of protest or outcry
3: a bodily ailment or disease
4a formal allegation against a party
I guess it does need to be voiced. Wait! I need to check the Urban one, see if they’re the same.
1: a statement that a situation is unsatisfactory or unacceptable.
a: a reason for dissatisfaction
b: the expression of dissatisfaction.
2: an illness or medical condition, especially a relatively minor one.
Close enough.
Sorry! Got distracted with shiny. Okay. Let me get to the point.
Earlier this week, I was watching a silly romantic comedy. (I love those. They’re my favorite type of movies.) And the main gal was an artist. Her parents were concerned–of course! She can’t possibly earn a living doodling and painting. I mean, come on. Who hasn’t heard of the “Starving Artist” phrase? There’s a reason for it. And she was not an exception. Even though she had a loft full of painted canvases, her bread and butter were paid for by working as a waitress. Typical cliche. (I did say it was a silly rom-com.) Daddy stepped in and arranged for an interview with a friend in corporate sales. No clue as to what type of sales, (honestly, my eyes glazed over at this point; don’t care,) but it’s one of those “suit” type jobs where you work in an office, probably in a cubicle, and talk on the phone all day.
Shoot me now…
But it got me thinking… What is a “job?”
I know. Some of you are asking, “Are you for real?!”
Stop laughing. I’m serious. Stop it.
Hmm… I’ll start with the Urban Dictionary.
  1. a paid position of regular employment.
  2. a task or piece of work, especially one that is paid.
  3. informal
    a thing of a specified kind.
  1. do casual or occasional work.
  2. buy and sell (stocks) as a broker-dealer, especially on a small scale.
  3. (NORTH AMERICAN informal)
    cheat; betray.
  4. archaic
    turn a public office or a position of trust to private advantage.
Okay. I don’t see 9-to-5 anywhere on this list. Maybe the other one will be more formal.

1a a regular remunerative position

b a specific duty, role, or function 
(1) something that has to be done
(2) an undertaking requiring unusual exertion
2a a piece of workespecially a small miscellaneous piece of work undertaken on order at a stated rate
b the object or material on which work is being done
c something produced by or as if by work 
d an example of a usually specified type
3a something done for private advantage
b a criminal enterprise
c a damaging or destructive bit of work 
4 (chiefly British) state of affairs usually used with bad or good
5plastic surgery for cosmetic purposes
Blah, blah, blah… My eyes are glazing over again…
Focus, Lena, focus! 
Right! I’m on a soapbox, so I force myself to read it again.
I think that a piece of art, regardless of what kind, would fall under 2a, no? What do you guys think?
Nowhere, on either list, does it say that you have to work for someone else, that you have to work between certain hours, at a desk or a counter, or that a job has to be boring/frustrating/annoying/painful.
So why does art not qualify as a “real” job? Let me think…
It’s not like they work long hours, far more than your traditional 40 to 45 hours-per-week. Musicians/singers/dancers don’t practice for hours on end, until their bodies ache, and sometimes brake. Or maybe it’s because drawing and painting isn’t painful enough. It’s not like their hands get stiff or their eyes get strained. The same applies to authors. I mean, they just sit on their ass and type away. How difficult can that be?
Actually, it’s kinda difficult sometimes.
In case you didn’t notice, that last paragraph is full of sarcasm.
But let’s continue.
For you “grounded” folks who don’t understand why anyone would waste their time on this kinda stuff, the next part is probably more similar to what you’d consider to be “real work.” Once the art is ready, (music/composed, song/written, dance/choreographed, drawing/painting complete, book/printed) the hard part begins. (At least it’s hard for me.)
No, no, no, not this kind of hard.
The hard part is connecting with people–and I don’t mean just online, I mean in person— and selling your work.
Yeah… I’m a little Sheldon-like sometimes. I’m working on it.
The last book signing I went to, I had a woman come to my table who wasn’t familiar with my work. I explained that the stories were “steamy sexy” and gave a quick overview of the last story, which included, “What happens in Vegas doesn’t always stay in Vegas,” because the two characters came back together. But this woman didn’t give me a chance to finish. She cut me off and made a joke that they came back with sexually transmitted infections, then walked away.
Ouch… That wasn’t very nice…
Yup. Art (of any kind) is incredibly easy, and is never work. It’s not work to spend hours, days, weeks, sometimes months, on a project. It’s not work to pour your soul into words or graphics that some will hate. It’s not work to connect with people who say things that make your skin crawl. Nope. Doesn’t sound like work at all.
Wait a minute…
That sounds a lot like my day job. And that job is definitely work.
Well… shit…
Until next time!
PS. In case you were curious, the movie ended with her finding a man who loved her for herself, including her artistic soul, and with her selling a painting.
Have I mentioned I love love??

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