What Does Living the Artist’s Life Mean and How Are You Doing?

Is living the artist’s life a real thing, or is it just words that don’t mean anything?

How would one know if they live the artist’s life and who’s in charge to decide if they are or not?

As the author of these questions, I will do my best to answer them. To start, I’ll say living the artist’s life is not a random concept but rather a specific idea I have about how artists live their lives. It’s been my goal for some time to help artists live their best lives as artists.

I’m not in charge.

To be clear, I’m the last person to tell someone else how to live their life. I make suggestions based on observations, which are not the same as…

Being the boss of you or anyone else. Which is, for sure, not my thing. I’m confident such feelings are partly due to my intense dislike of anyone telling me how to live my life. Back off, dude!

Live Your Best Artist's LIfe
Live Your Best Artist’s LIfe

My insubordinate attitude has not improved with age. I can attest to carrying a rebellious streak with me into my 70s.

I don’t know and don’t worry that I don’t.

I’m not introspective, so I can’t pinpoint the source of my defiant attitude. However, I’m pretty sure a decade of upbringing in Catholic schools added fuel to the fire of rejecting authority. I found the things the church was putting down with all its rules never made sense to me as a kid or now. If falling ass over teakettle into a giant tub of Holy Water on Easter at age seven or eight had no effect, what could?

Yes, I have answers because it’s kinda what I do.

I have brave answers to my questions for you. Keep in mind; these are my opinions and perceptions. You are free to ignore and disagree with them because the Pope doesn’t have a say on my blog.

Living the artist’s life is a state of mind. Simply, to me, it’s how you choose to live your life and embrace your creativity as an artist. I agree with and paraphrase Picasso, who mused we are all artists as children, but we lose touch with the concept as adults.

Living the artist’s life is something I think about a lot. It was the motivation to buy the Artists.Life domain, which I use exclusively to promote the Artist’s Life Manifesto. I encourage those interested to read it. I’m biased, but I’m still proud to tell you it is a pretty damn good take on the artist’s life. Here’s a quote from it:

The Guide to Art-related Careers
Learn about art-related Careers.

Visual art in the art business runs the gamut from lowly and poorly reproduced images that sell for pennies to glorious masterpieces that trade for millions at auctions.

It’s all part of the art business. Never let anyone exclude you from the art business based on their interpretation. You are in it in the way you choose.

Barney Davey

Artists.Life a simmering side project for now, but instincts tell me it will turn into something remarkable before I’m done with it.

What living the artist’s life means to me.

Living the artist’s life to me is being true to yourself and your creativity. That is, to embrace your gifts no matter how small or magnificent they are. And then dedicate some portion of your time to making art throughout your life.

Whether it’s a full-time all-encompassing preoccupation or a pleasant hobby you turn to from time to time, if you are giving yourself the time and freedom to unleash your creativity, then you are living the artist’s life. That’s it. You’re living the artist’s life if you act like an artist at least some of the time. That’s all that is needed to make it a real thing.

The Guide to Art-related Careers
Learn about art-related Careers.

No one is in charge here.

The answer to the question of who is in charge of deciding who is and who is not an artist or living the life of an artist is you. Anyone else who thinks they have the authority to make such a determination is simply full of it and probably full of themselves too. As you can imagine, people like that are not my kind. I reject their self-appointed jurisdiction.

I realize we can’t reject all authority. The world is pretty messy already because so many people think they can. But, in keeping to the topic of living the artist’s life, I’ll say you have lots of room to make significant decisions about your life.

Hey, free bird!

The reality is we’re not all equally free and never have been. However, I imagine nearly all who read this post are among the freest the world has known. Free to travel, choose where to live, choose who can live with us, and what work to do to bring the bread. If I’m right and that’s you, I hope you take the time to celebrate your gifts as an artist and the freedom to make the art you want because it’s not the case in much of the world.

Thanks Mom!

I choose to use my time to help artists and to advocate for them. It’s probably an influence due to my sweet mom; she loved art and was a talented artist who worked in pastels, watercolors, and oil paintings. Whatever the reason, I’ve staked ground and spent decades in the service of artists. That’s why you are reading this post and have access to archives going back to 2005.

Help yourself and help the cause.

I encourage you to subscribe to this blog for my weekly posts by clicking this link. Virtually all but a handful of my posts are about marketing and business and not as personal as this one. I am confident you will learn many valuable tidbits if you spend time in the Art Marketing News archives.

If you want art marketing techniques and useful art business information, I invite you to join the Art Marketing Toolkit Project. You’ll gain access to a library of in-depth, helpful art marketing information, weekly live sessions breaking down art marketing into ideas and concepts to help you sell more art. The interactive Zoom meetings are recorded and archived as well.

It’s only $4.99 per month to join hundreds of like-minded artists and me in our lively Facebook group. The price is low because my motto is “No artist left behind.”

After decades in the art business, it’s my way to give back to let others have a chance to get information often walled off with big-ticket prices. Screw that! I’d give it to you, but I know if you don’t have some skin in the game, you won’t take it seriously and will get little from it and I’m not in it for that.

I recently launched a new Facebook group called Older Artists. It’s a place for artists of a certain age to share their work, celebrate the work of their fellow artists, and enjoy the camaraderie of their peers. It’s free to join with no restrictions. Without me telling you, I know you will instinctively know if you are prime to join the Older Artists group. If you are not ready to join but have family or friends who are, do them a solid and tell them about the group. The fun and joy it’s producing are so worthwhile for every single member.

Supporters vs. joiners.

Perhaps you are not interested in joining my free or paid groups, but you appreciate this blog’s mission to provide free and helpful information, and how I devote my time to help artists. You can still support my efforts, and I will always be grateful if you do because I’m not minting internet millions from this work. You can shoot me some love and dollars on this link. Your generosity gets my sincere and appropriate thanks.

Lastly, thanks for reading way down here – it’s a clear sign you are the best because only the cool kids do, which makes you just my kind. And thanks for your interest in my work. Now I suggest you get back to your art-making and living your artist’s life because time waits for no one. Don’t be a stranger.

The Guide to Art-related Careers
Learn about art-related Careers.


Artists Life, Living Artists Life

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  1. Barney, I have followed you for a long time. Sometimes I read your stuff, and sometimes I don't. Only because I am a busy person. Today, the title was catching my attention. I have copied a link to this and posted it along with a couple of quotes in an article I am writing on Medium. You inspired me today and it fits right in with all the advice I try to pass on to artists (and it can apply to anyone) coming along with me or behind me. Giving back! Thank you for your insights.

  2. Thank you Barney for the many ways you encourage and empower artists of all different skill levels, tech capabilities and ages. You are so spot on on many of your suggestions and observations.

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