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Selling Out vs Making A Living

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I see the term selling out often used to describe some artist and their work. And most times, it's used as some sort of criticism, demeaning both the artist and their work. But I think that sometimes this criticism is misguided.

First, we need to look at what so many people think selling out means—it means doing your art for money or some other reward. But let's be real here, no one accuses the grocery clerk, or the fireman, or the school teacher, or the plumber of selling out because they get paid for what they do. That seems to be reserved for those who pursue art as a career, or at least as a serious side endeavor. Why is this? What makes art so different than any other job?



Job is why. Most people don't look at creating art as a job. They look at it as some sort of magical, spiritual, unfathomable thing. “I know you paint/dance/play music/direct films/etc. for a living, but I have to have a real job.” There's that word: real. Like being an artist is not real.

But it i…