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Artists Don't Have to Suffer

IMG_7578 I have a lot of little mantras that I recite to myself in order to make it through all the ups and downs (well, mostly through the downs) of this career that I’ve chosen for myself. “Everything happens for a reason.” “God doesn’t give me anything that I can’t handle.” “Every battle makes you a better artist.” 

But I’m really questioning that last one. 

Someone once told me that you can’t be an artist if the worst thing that ever happened to you was coming in second place in a tennis tournament at your country club. At the time, I thought that was entertaining. I also started to use the concept as a way to reassure myself. Yes, life is hard. Yes, things are difficult. But I know that I’m going to grow as a person because of those rough times, and my art will grow with me.

The trouble with that, though, is this notion that artists have to suffer. It’s become so instilled into our culture, the concept of “suffering for your art” or the stereotype of the “starving artist”. My question is why? Why do we help perpetuate these ideas? Why can’t artists expect to live happy comfortable lives? Why do we accept that in order to make great art, we have to be penniless, starving, and suffering?

It's not a foregone conclusion, but it might be a self-fulfilling prophecy. So let's stop saying it.

I’ve decided that my new mission (and yours, should you choose to accept it), is to plant the seeds of the opposite ideas into society. I want to spread the knowledge that artists are valuable, vital members of the world community. I want for artists to be thought of as safe and financially sound. I want artists to have the respect that we deserve, and I think it has to start with respecting ourselves.

-- Angela Sauer

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cory huff

Amen! I've spoken to probably 10 actors in the last month who are taking their careers into their own hands. Felicia Day's web series The Guild is a perfect model for how actors can take control.

David August

Nice, I blogged it:

Jason Parker

I second Cory's Amen!! I have written about this subject on my blog as well, and have read other's like Cory who are trying to spread the positive vibes. We need all of us working on this together to effect the way society sees us as artists.

Thanks for the great post. I look forward to reading more of your blog.



I enjoyed reading your thoughts and ideas centered around this age old adage. I too am in agreement is that we need to address is with a more positive attitude. So, in my response I choose to use the word "challenge" instead of "suffer". I feel this word empowers me "to overcome" oppose "to succumb" the inevitable.

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