Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Definition of the professionnal

How do you define the professional, swing dancer or else? The common sense would point out 2 factors :
  • Do you earn money for what you do?
  • Are you recognized by your peers?
I don't think the professional artist should be defined in such terms. One of the best example in history that doesn't fit in that box would Vincent Van Gogh.

''After years of painful anxiety and frequent bouts of mental illness, he died at the age of 37 from a gunshot wound, generally accepted to be self-inflicted (although no gun was ever found). His work was then known to only a handful of people and appreciated by fewer still. ''

We are back to square one it seems! I might sound like disciple of Pressfield, but why not just accept it when someone has got it right? The professional devotes his whole life to his form of art. The amateur on the contrary is the weekend warrior. The professional wakes up and works on his arts. It's its job! The amateur might work on it if he feels like it or when he has an available partner or when he has access to a studio or whatever excuses.

Should the professional make money out of his art? Of course he should! He should be a mercenary, detached himself from the illusion of pride he can have and sells his arts if he can at the highest price he can. Maybe this will not happen right away. Maybe it will unfortunately never happen. See money as a bonus and not a prerequisite.

Should the professional be recognized by his peers? This should happen naturally, but if it doesn't, that doesn't define the professional. We know all about art circles and how artists can often snobbish about other people's work. Does that happen in swing dancing? I apologize for the rhetorical question!

Getting up and working hard on what matters the most for you, that's what being a professional artist is about.

Fred Barbe