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Are You a Professional?

"Unicorn" Commissioned Work

When I am out in the country, city or a local park with my camera and tripod in tow, people stop me and ask, “Are you a professional?” I have to admit that this question always makes me stop and assess myself for a brief instant. I have to remind myself that in fact I take photos. I also have submitted my art and photos to be judged by professional photographers and artists. I have also received recognition for my work. My photos and art items are in local art galleries and people have purchased my art work and photos. After going through the justification I am able to answer yes to that question.

So why do we artists have to go through that type of justification before we say yes? Simple answer, we are not "Van Gogh". At times artists don't feel we deserve that type of title. It can be because people don't buy our work. It can be because we don't do it for a living. It can be because we don't have our art gracing every home. Whatever the reason, we have to admit we create because it's an extension of ourselves.

I was just asked today why I don’t do art for a living. I answered, “I do.” I am an artist and a photographer, and I love what I do on the side. I teach preschool when I am not creating art and enjoy all my professions. An artist lives to paint but they have to be inspired to do what they do, and being around children all day is a whole lot of inspiration.

I have been painting more and showing in different places and have been asked to teach and present my art form. I also have been commissioned at times to paint or create an art item for a special occasion.

Many of my larger and expensive works have never sold. I never let that deter me from creating an art piece. It doesn’t matter if I have sold anything at all. It matters how I see myself. Sure I have a job that pays the bills but I live to create. When I am by myself creating art, snapping away photos or with paint brush in hand and I am just about to place my brush to the canvas, I take a deep breath and dive in. The joy and satisfaction I get by creating is like none other.

So when someone asks me next time, “Are you a professional?” I will answer without hesitation, "YES!"

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