"You know, [insert fine arts career here] doesn't make a lot of money."
Anyone aspiring to be an artist, writer, actor, or anything in between has surely heard this about 5.5 million times. And it can evoke any number of reactions. Some days it feels like an arrow to the heart. Some days it makes your blood boil. Some days you smile politely because you know deep down that you won't change this person's mind. At least not by fighting back then and there. You can only change their mind by succeeding.
I want to be an author. It's been my dream since before I could physically write. At first it was perceived as cute, like how every little kid wants to be an astronaut or the president. It probably wasn't until middle school that my career aspiration inspired polite, strained smiles or what seemed like a personal offense to the person I was talking to. The corporate men and women of America just loved (and still love) to tell me the odds.
"It's not always about talent. It's about who you know."
"Yeah, but what's your day job going to be?"
"That's a great hobby, but I wouldn't put all your eggs in one basket."
After years of hearing the above statements and the like, I think I can confidently say that I get it. I know the odds, I promise. But with each new person I tell, it probably just makes them feel better to knock me down a few pegs. Because no one wants to encourage artists. Because no one wants to be responsible if they fail.
No one wants to tell an artist to follow their dreams. Because god forbid they do, and god forbid they can't catch a break and come back to you and say, "Why did you tell me to do this?" So it's a lot easier to subtly beat an artist down and hope that they get a 'real job'.
Most people will think like that, even if they don't realize it. But you, my dear reader, know better. Most people don't get a book dedicated to them, or a shout-out in an Oscar acceptance speech. Those spots are for the coveted few that encourage the artist when everyone else wasn't. So, simple answer, don't be like everybody else. Take a chance on an artist. The ones that are meantto be won't disappoint you.