25 Things You Should Never Say To an Artist Pt. 1

25 Things You Should Never Say To an Artist Pt. 1 on Jung Katz Art Blog

This article is based upon things that actual artists have been told- most of which by friends and family. As an artist, it’s a bit upsetting and yet frustratingly humorous just how many of these I can personally relate to. What’s with this stigma about artists? People are either extremely impressed or incredibly discouraging regarding art being a vocation. This is only part 1 of this post, for more, check out part 2 here.

1. “Make one for me!”
Pay me! This took time and money, you know, not to mention a lot of practice.

2. “You’re so lucky!”
Practice is hard work, not luck.

3. “That’s a hobby not a job.”
If you make money from it and have responsibilities, then it’s a job.

4. “What’s your real job?”
Astronaut cowboy millionaire.

5. “It must be nice sitting around doing nothing all day.”
For art to be considered doing “nothing” it sure seems hard for a lot of people to do.

6. “I wish I had that much time on my hands.”
Sorry I spent my free time crafting a skill rather than just sitting on the couch in front of the TV.

7. “You’re just wasting your time.”
If doing something I love and trying to make my dreams come true is a waste, then I don’t know what isn’t a waste of time.

8. “Will you make my yard sale signs for me?”
Are you serious?

9. “You can make stuff anytime, do this instead…”
No, I can’t, because people like you, who assume that I have all the time in the world, won’t stop interrupting me. Ahhh!

10. “Your art looks just like this other artist’s.”
Um, nope. No it does not.

11.  “Will you make a knock off of some other artist’s work for me?”
How about you just go buy it from them instead of asking me to disrespectfully ripoff a fellow artist? It’s also pretty presumptions to assume that I would give you a better deal for my time than they would anyways.

12. “You should draw this and this and this…”
No and no and no.

13. “You should do this for free to gain exposure.”
And this would be why artists have a hard time making a living. Maybe you should go volunteer some extra hours at your day job for extra exposure to your boss. Maybe it’ll land you more work to do for free!

14. “I can get that for cheaper at Walmart.”
Yeah, and you can also get something made by exploited workers that hurts the economy and goes straight to big corporations! What you can’t buy there is a few-of-a-kind item that supports independent artists/small businesses and, therefore, helps the economy.

15. “Will you make me a custom version of this but for the same price?”
Create something entirely new for you and only you, and go through multiple revisions for the same price as something as-is?

16. “I want this and I need it done by next week.”
Never mind that I’m busy and there’s plenty of orders ahead of your’s.

17. “I’m going to need another revision done on this custom order”
It would have been a lot easier to make the second revision at the same time that I was making the first, if only you had told me before I made the second finalized image. Please, speak now or forever hold your peace.

18. “Are you done yet?”
Is it just me, or do people think artists just snap their fingers and they’re done?

19. “What is it?”
Art.

20. “That’s not art.”
That’s subjective.

21. “People buy that?”
Yes, people buy cigarettes too. Are you surprised that my work is at least as good as something that can kill you?

22. “What are you smoking?”
You can be creative without drugs, you know.

23. “It must be nice living in your own little dream world.”
It’s a hell of a lot better than living in your bland and boring world.

24. “I guess anyone can call themselves an artist.”
And I guess anyone can say their unwarranted, uneducated opinion about anything and everything whenever they want.

25. And finally, “You can’t make money being an artist.”
Is that why everything around us is designed by creative minds? From the print on your shower curtain to the graphic design on your tooth paste tube?

There’s more!.. To read part 2, click here. Let us know what you think in the comments.
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42 Comments

    1. Ha! Funny you should say that, Jennifer. I don’t think we touch on that specifically but I always was looked at as the messy one and the weird one growing up.

      Cheers,
      Casey

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    1. Haha, please do! Though to be honest, it’s a bit of a Family Guy reference. Thanks for reading, Dani. :)

      -Casey

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  1. I just realized that I got #9 a lot growing up. I told my parents I wanted to take the art class in school and they told me “you can draw things anytime. I’d rather you did [this] instead.” It sucked and now I feel like I missed a crap ton of learning opportunities, especially since I really needed and still need those critiques and nudges in the right direction.

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    1. Hey, Kalei. Cool name/spelling by the way. That’s really unfortunate, but on the bright side- it’s never too late!

      -Casey

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    1. No worries, if you wouldn’t have said anything I wouldn’t have known that English wasn’t your first language. Plus I admire anyone who learns a new language. :) No should hear my Spanish, its no bueno. lol

      Greetings from the U.S. right back at you! Thanks for reading, Alex.

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  2. I LOVE every single one of these. Especially the notion that a person cannot make money as a creative. A local art store/school just posed a 6ft long poster in the retail space listing creative professions. I hope it resonates with the kids and parents who see it.

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  3. This is a great list–from a guy who wistfully stares at my artist friends’ work and wishes I could afford it, and fantasizes about reminding I’ve got a birthday coming up soon. Poets get “what’s it mean?” and “why doesn’t it rhyme?”

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  4. Nice list! Who would have thought of such a list? Those who ‘work’ at and live by Art! Art is, by it’s simplest definition, an “Illustration” I’ve seen a machinist in a tool and die factory work for night after night/days on ONE piece of a sketch, only to find out that he was just practicing his skill to illustrate curves. I trust that you have seen the blog postI did on “What is Art”. I now update that to include, “in various levels of complexity and precision “. My book cover was done on a computer by a Stained Glass artists who has heard all of your comments and then some

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  5. Nice list! Who would have thought of such a list? Those who ‘work’ at and live by Art! Art is, by it’s simplest definition, an “Illustration” I’ve seen a machinist in a tool and die factory work for night after night/days on ONE piece of a sketch, only to find out that he was just practicing his skill to illustrate curves. I trust that you have seen the blog post I did on “What is Art”. I now update that to include, “in various levels of complexity and precision “. My book cover was done on a computer by a Stained Glass artist who has heard all of your comments and then some. Give your art detractors an impossible sexual task to do on themselves.

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  6. I get number 15 a lot. Also (not listed), people asking for discounts. Discounts just because they know you, just because they’re a member of the same national organization (even though you have never met), and discounts just because they don’t want to pay for your time and effort.

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  7. Going on to read part two as soon as I stop snorting from the wasabi that just went up my nose when I busted a gut reading this. So totally on point!

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  8. Dear Jung, OMG you summarized all of them, brilliant. Thanks for the repartee as well! I kept seeing a thought balloon above the comment. Even organizations that wish to “support” the arts are amazingly insensitive at times. We bring the sexy zing to their event, provide the substance and they want us to pay them? Artists, learn your own worth!

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    1. “We bring the sexy zing to their event” lol! Exacty, well said and thank you for reading! :) Us artists have got to unite and not let others take advantage of our talents.

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  9. Oh my, I hear a lot of those especially the ones about not being able to make a living and whats your real job. IT has taken me years to finally learn that I am the only one who really needs to beleive in me.

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    1. That’s the spirit! At times, it can take a lot of courage to rise above all the negative comments and believe in yourself anyways. Thanks for stopping by. :)

      Like

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