In that awkward land of misery known as the 8th grade, I remember a graphic artist coming to talk to us about his job. I suppose it was career day, though I can’t really remember. But, I’m pretty sure he didn’t just stumble in off the street, disheveled and desperately trying to caffeinate himself with coffee from a white Styrofoam cup.
He looked tired and beaten down. Like he’d been given one assignment too many and all pay raises had been put on an indefinite hold. The only thing I remember is him saying “If you want to become an artist when you grow up…don’t.”
I went on to not follow his advice. Though some days I look just as disheveled, longing for a coffee IV drip to get me through the last hours of a crazy deadline. I understand what he meant. Art, especially freelance art (or freelance anything) isn’t easy. But I think he was wrong in his plea for us impressionable youth to run away. There are those that should, of course. Not everyone can deal with the uncertainty of this career path, especially when you wonder about the “career” part and aren’t sure where the path is leading.
But if you can’t stop doodling when you’re supposed to be doing something else. And if the 8-5 routine day in and day out, with a boss looking over your shoulder, with no end in sight, makes you feel like the life is being squeezed out of you. And if you want to your failure or success to be on your shoulders alone. Then maybe you should try it.
But there is something to be said for the advice “If you can do anything else to make a living, then do that.” I wouldn’t tell a group of middle schoolers not to try and be a freelance artist. But it’s definitely not the easiest way to go at times.
Anyway, here’s a girl holding a Mocha.