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Throughout history the role of the artist has changed greatly. Looking through the annals of Art History, the time that we are in now is very different than any other. A profession that has always been looked at as just that, a profession, has become more of a life mission, of sorts. Very gradually the artist began working for his or her own benefit instead of for a benefactor or commission. Is this a good change or a bad one? Is this the inevitable evolution of art? Is life as an artist in this society worth the effort? These question are what face many young people like myself.
Someone once said to me "mindless programmable beings the choices would be easy. We would all be doctors and lawyers. Those are obviously the most easily attained and most rewarded in our society. Going to college for medical or law for a few years seems to predestine you for, if nothing else, a fairly large paycheck and a nice house in the suburbs. The culmination of the American dream. So why, one would ask would anyone choose to be an (gasp!) artist?
This is the dilemma that most art students face today. Should they be true to their personal and artistic values or should they assure their the ability to survive in a capitalist American society. A profession that, throughout history, has been considered that of an artisan, has changed. Artist were once respected for their talent and rewarded for their accomplishments. The artists of yesteryear were content to be commissioned to showcase their patron's visions. An artist who bows to a patron today is considered an artistic whore. They are said to not be true to themselves or their profession. People like designers and performing artists thus face a problem. In the artistic community they are not doing anything of value because they are buying into the system. But in the rest of the world they are grouped into 'artist' for their talents. And so they are left to float in the middle. But the point stands that they have a better chance of attaining the great American dream of happiness through monetary accomplishments.
The artist who does not take into account the system in which we live, however does not have as good of a chance. Of course there are artists who have been true to themselves and are considered successes in our society.
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"The Life Journey of an Artist." 123HelpMe.com. 21 Jan 2019
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