Deep Thought Thursday: Do all artists want to be famous?

Have you ever met an artist who didn’t want to be famous? Artists are the greatest delayed-gratification people in the world.

Mary Beth Edelson in The Artist’s Mentor: Inspiration from the World’s Most Creative Minds

(Ian Jackman, ed.)

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14 comments to Deep Thought Thursday: Do all artists want to be famous?

  • Sure all artists to some extent want to be famous; but famous is like success it depends on how you want to define it.

  • Ya. I totally agree with that. I have artist friend who feel satisfied and happy for their work and don’t like to be famous at all. Alex Liu How to become a millionaire http://secretsofunlimitedwealth.com

  • I think “Fame” is overrated and transient and in today’s culture pretty meaningless. I think most artists wouldn’t mind a little appreciation from their desired audience though….Fame seems to be distracting to those who have either found it or had it thrust upon them. Artists have never really achieved general fame the way actors and performers have although a few have crossed into the public limelight such as Warhol and Warhol is probably more famous for his appearance and partying with celebrities than for his art as far as the average person is concerned. The general public probably could not tell you who any current artists are if you were to ask on the street. If you were to ask on a city street corner “Can you name a famous artist working today” most would probably name Warhol or Monet or Van Gogh, not realizing none of them are alive. They’re just names they recognize. Artists seeking fame today are seekin recognition from collectors and other artists. Is that fame?

  • INteresting quote, Since I have been thinking about this very thing — I think it depends on one’s personal mission in life. One can be an artist (I personally think we are all born artists — in one or another media or field of study–but most of us lose it along the way. The Balinese and many other cultures don’t even have separate language for “artist,” making art is part of everyday life. Fame is a valid goal and almost every human seeks is on one level or another, but one can certainly be an artist without seeking the “TONIGHT SHOW” or MOMA version.

  • I agree with everyone here: “famous” these days often means no personal life. I am happy with selling what I make and having folks love it and recommend someone else. That’s famous enough for me. Here’s another question: does famous equate with success?

  • Ronnie

    I haven’t met any artist who doesn’t want to be recognized for their talent, first among their peers and hopefully then with collectors and finally with the public. Why else would we show our work, put a price on it, try to make a living at it? We wouldn’t do any of those things if success wasn’t the ultimate result of those efforts, efforts which by necessity, pull you away from your studio.

  • Yes, fame is overrated. To me, fame does not equate success–look at how many “famous” people have serious problems with drugs , alcohol, or whatever–trying to cope with their lives. Part of my own definition of art is communication—and on that level I would like to connect with more people and be known in that sense. My idea of success would be to be able to live well, supporting myself by doing what I love to do.

  • I don’t do this for some chance at “fame”. I do it to spend my life creatively and earn my living from my creativity.

  • I completely agree with Tammy. If recognition of our work and being known and even admired our talent is fame, then, yes, I believe all career artists want fame. But the desire for fame for celebrity sake alone is a very empty, often destructive ambition.

  • How relevent for me today! Just started to really try to narrow down exactly where my long-term goals lie, thus forcing me to define “success” or “fame”. Are fame and celebrity always hand-in-hand? Can’t they be exclusive?

  • Marge

    Great question! I’d love fame. I would like the kind of fame that means recognition by artists, dealers and buyers who can spot real, sincere, unique art that says something. I don’t need to be famous in a way that means I have to make “appearances” or be asked to speak or give interviews. I am thrilled if someone likes my art enough to pay money for it. Paying legitimizes its value. Free art has no value. I have given away art, and believe me, the people who get it that way, don’t think it has any value. Lots of people say they LOVE something, but don’t want to make a financial commitment to living with it. I’d be happy if they want to buy and live with a giclee. Rembrandt sold etchings of his paintings to make his work more affordable. Matisse and Picasso gave licenses for their work to be “serigraphed.” Reproductions, I think, are a legitimate way to allow people to live with real art affordably. Those who remember the Keanes and those who have the misfortune of knowing the work of Thomas Kinkade, know fame can be a big fat joke. Spare me. Just let me keep painting and know that complete strangers who “get it” would pay to live with it.

  • Posted by: Tammy VItale | Friday, 25 January 2008 at 09:58 AM “I haven’t met any artist who doesn’t want to be recognized for their talent, first among their peers and hopefully then with collectors and finally with the public. Why else would we show our work, put a price on it, try to make a living at it? We wouldn’t do any of those things if success wasn’t the ultimate result of those efforts, efforts which by necessity, pull you away from your studio.” Well said, Tammy! My dad died with his beautiful watercolors stacked in his closet. Now, he is becoming known and his works are appreciated. I don’t really have much choice in the matter, but I would rather that didn’t happen to me–or worse, that my paintings be sent to the dump…

  • I don’t personally wish to become famous. I want my work to become famous. As a Fine Crafter/ artist, I make wooden boxes. I sell them as dream boxes. So if they became famous I would have helped many reach thier dreams. Which is my ultimate goal! Patrick Donovan Dream Boxes http://www.patdonovandesigns.com