At least you get paid for it

As I was walking to work in SOMA Friday morning I saw a guy carrying some drift wood. I didn’t think much of it, but as I passed he asked me if I knew of a good place for breakfast. I told him about a spot near my work and that it wasn’t too far away. Since it was along the way to work we started talking. He mentioned that the drift wood was for a painting he planned on making.

“I just got it from Ocean Beach. The drift wood serves as the frame of the canvas, and I like to draw portraits within that”

He then mentioned that he was from Pennsylvania and had to get out here to do art. “I feel so limited being over there, like I would have to give up a lot just to get where I want to be.” That’s when he mentioned that still after 4 years he doesn’t feel like he’s broken through. It’s the classic scenario of an artist knowing where they want their work to be and feeling the gap between that and where they are. “I pick up odd jobs every now and then. I’ve found some construction gigs from time to time. What do you do for work?”

I told him I felt the same way about doing design and building products. I’ve been doing it for a few years now and still feel that gap. So I told him I know how it feels putting in so much effort and still not seeing certain results. I told him it was really fun though and that’s why we continue to do it regardless of how hard it is. That’s when he dropped the bomb on me.

“At least you get paid for it. With art, it’s really hard to make a career out of it, there aren’t many venues for that.”

Art is truly a passion driven hobby. For the lucky few, they get to make it a career. I feel what we do is a little like art but more because we use a lot of creativity to solve problems. We get to do this every single day not having to worry about how to sustain it, only how to sustain and continue to improve our skills. So no matter how hard it is, what walls you hit along the way, and how frustrating some things can be, don’t forget that at least you get paid for it.