On how it sucks to be an artist

A buddy of mine posted this nice article from Salon called “The Creative Class is a Lie“. Below is my response.

In the creative class a lie? I disagree. Perhaps a better statement would be to say it was oversold. But it has always been this way.

When I moved to LA back in 88, there was a whole group of us young turks out to change the world. We were going to be musicians, actors, screenwriters, directors, artists, etc. By the time we hit our mid 30s, most of us had quit the dream, and taken day jobs. Many moved back home, wherever home was. This is the cycle of the “creative class”. There are always more dreamers than jobs, especially for jobs like “movie star” or “rock star”. There is only going to be a few influential rich in any given field, that is how art has always been.

Has the effects of the Great Recession made things more difficult for these dreamers? Possibly, but I would argue that it also has done a better job of separating the wheat from the chaff. 15 years from now, most of those dreamers will be happy and healthy because they will have found something better for their lives. In contrast, right now they are bitter because their dreams got crushed in the cruel, cruel “real world” of having to pay the rent, and buy food. Time will fix this as it does most things. One only has to look a few years backwards to see.
Perhaps the biggest disservice ever given to young bright-eyed creatives is that no one ever tells them their dreams will happily crush their bones to make its bread. The real world is the crucible. It is harsh, cruel, and has no care for your needs. Many will go in, but only a paltry few will remain. And it is at that point–when you have sold everything for the dream and wake up one day, beaten, tired, and lying at the side of the road–that the real art begins; living your life, not the dream.

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