5 Facts That Toss the Starving Artist Mentality on its Head

Photo caption: Becoming a professional artist really is possible. The idea of the starving artist is truly a myth. Photo courtesy of the Milan Art Institute.

“You can’t pursue art as a career. You’ll never earn enough money to make a living.”

“Only a few lucky artists actually become successful, but for most people, it’s a pipe dream.”

“You should pick a career that’s more stable and secure. People don’t want to buy art anyway.”

It’s highly likely that you have heard a version of these words throughout your life from teachers, parents, friends, and even yourself. Have you been carrying a burden of doubt and fear because of this narrative? Do you often feel like quitting, or not even trying at all? Please, take heart.

Even though these notions are embedded in the minds of most people, the truth is, it’s a lie that appears real. 

And this lie has cursed artists to lives of mediocrity and hopelessness for centuries. It’s time to put a stop to this lie before it curses anymore artists to anything other than the heroic artistic lives they so deserve. 

The words “starving” and “artist” don’t really belong in the same sentence. The starving artist is a myth, an idea we dispel everyday in programs like our Mastery Program. If you’re ready to shake off the starving artist mindset and to become the professional artist you’ve always wanted to be, then you’ll want to take the five facts below to heart.

What is the Curse of the Starving Artist?

The belief that pursuing an art career is risky, irresponsible, and not financially lucrative is pervasive in culture, but it is a myth. It’s false. 

Being an artist is a worthy and noble pursuit, and it is absolutely possible to be successful. Although this curse can feel real at times, it couldn’t be farther from the truth. It’ s crucial to not let this notion infiltrate your mind and affect your beliefs. 

Here are a few truths you need to know to overcome this false narrative and reclaim your place as a world changing artist!

5 Facts That Dispel the Starving Artist Myth

The only way for you to truly change the beliefs that stop you from becoming the professional artist you want to be is by looking at the truth. 

Fact #1: Talent Is Beyond Your Control. Skill Isn’t

You do not need to be talented, but you do need skill. Skill and excellence is acquired by being willing to learn. Having an attitude of constant discovery and remaining teachable are qualities that go hand in hand with diligence and perseverance. 

You must be okay with not automatically being good at something, because with commitment, improvement is inevitable. Skill is attainable for everyone, not just a “talented” few. You are more capable of achieving excellence than you know. With diligent practice, your unique voice and vision will greatly impact the world! 

Fact #2: It Isn’t About Who You Know

You don’t need to know someone in the upper echelon of the art world. Making connections and networking have their value, but a more important connection is having a quality mentor. 

A mentor who cares about who you are as a person and who has gone through failures as well as successes will help you grow exponentially. There are so many ways to connect with artists these days, and it’s encouraging to have relationships with people who have similar goals. 

Fact #3: Luck Has Little to Do With It

People mistake “luck” for strong work ethic and consistency. There is great power in commitment and drive. It’s important to allow yourself to take risks to position yourself to be ready for opportunities. If you show up with your whole heart, opportunities will come. 

Additionally, the effect of having a set of specific and measurable goals for your art career cannot be underestimated. Luck may not have a lot to do with your success, but your goals sure do!

Fact #4: Passion and True Belief Take You a Long Way

Degrees and gallery representation are great, but passion, diligence and clarity of purpose are what makes you successful. There is no longer a need for a middle man. With technology and the new ways people connect with each other, you can represent yourself and build a personal brand that is cohesive and authentic. 

As a result, many people will eagerly support you and your art. The truth is becoming a professional artist is easier today than it ever has been. The Age of the Internet has made an art career a very viable option.

Fact #5: Mentorship Can Be Rocket Fuel for Your Art Career

Oftentimes, people don’t follow their dreams, because they have never seen anyone do what they want to do. This is certainly true for aspiring professional artists. They don’t know any professional artists, so they believe they don’t exist, not really, not in the way that say a doctor or a lawyer or an office manager exist.

That’s why finding an art mentor is so important. We have seen mentorship change the lives of the artists who go through our Mastery Program, so we know it works for the students who take on an artist mentor. 

Aside from offering valuable career advice, the art mentor is important psychologically. It shows aspiring artists that it is more than possible to have a career in art. Having an art mentor is one of the most powerful things you can do to get rid of the starving artist mentality once and for all.

Video caption: Becoming a Professional Artist: The Magic of Mentoring in an Art Career

You Are a Victorious Artist

We are already living in a bright new era for artists, the curse of the starving artist is over! Artists are influencers and leaders of culture, pioneers who lead society into uncharted realms of beauty. 

Be encouraged, and create from a place of victory. Your art is needed and you are more than capable of being a successful artist. 

You are not irresponsible, lazy, or selfish for wanting to pursue an art career. You are brave, innovative, and strong. It’s the world that’s starving; it’s starving for beauty, wonder, and hope. As an artist, that’s what you have to offer, and that’s priceless.

To learn more about breaking the starving artist curse, read Elli Milan’s inspiring and FREE Ebook here. 

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