A woman stopped at my table at the OKC Farmers Public Market today and was admiring my work. I answered the standard questions. “Yes, I take all the photographs. Yes, all the artwork is mine. Yes, I print or make everything here.”
Then she asked my most dreaded question, “Do you do anything else?” Sounds innocent and simple. Yet few indie artists want to answer honestly. To say “No” is a lie. To say “Yes” makes me seem like a dabbler, a hobbyist. But I answered honestly. “Yes, I also teach in the Mass Comm department at Rose State.”
And then she said it. The dreaded words.
“Oh, you do this for fun.”
Fun. I was standing in a building with the indoor temp topping 95 degrees. I’d been there for four hours by the time she stopped by my table. I was sweating. Every inch of me from the top of my head to the bottom of my feet was covered in perspiration. A heat headache was setting in. Fun.
Fun. I have spent thousands of dollars on supplies, thousands of hours honing my craft, and a few hundred more prepping to share my art with the world. Fun.
Fun. Yes, I enjoy sharing my art with people. Yes, I adore my indie artist family. Yes, my life is my own and I love it. But I don’t do this “for fun.”
I do this for the love of my art. I do this to bring more beauty into the world. I do this because I can’t not do it.
“I do this to make money.”
The next time you are talking to an artist or craftsman, honor their commitment, dedication, and professionalism. Don’t trivialize their hard work. It may look fun, but it’s not just for fun.