Imagine my surprise when I finally learned sometime this past weekend that Professional Artist Does Not Automatically Equal Career Artist.
Maybe that's a "Duh!", but I really wasn't aware of a difference, and in fact thought there was none until a friend of mine told me of her own POV on her artwork and made me aware of it.
Gosh. Talk about subtle difference, too.
The minute your artwork sells, a person's considered a "professional" artist. But just because your artwork sells (and even if it continues to sell easily and regularly) doesn't mean you wanna work at it and make selling your own artwork your business. (Let alone your career.)
It's a fine line (VERY fine line) but okay, there can be two different approaches to being a professional artist. The former is of course, a way less stressful approach. You sell and upkeep the paperwork part (IRS, you know) but you don't sweat it. You just enjoy the ride of making art and having it even sell sometimes. And that's cool.
My professional, career-artist friends -- who I admire very much -- whom I have watched develop their own studios and who now make a living from their art, take their art and artwork very seriously (just like any professional would). They also take the marketing of their work very seriously. Producing artwork for regular sale is what they must do for a living. It's not optional for them. It's gotta make a living for them somehow, and they remain flexible, in order to get through both the "famine" and the "feast" times. It's them I look at as I develop my own studio.
I guess that makes our approach, expectations and perimeters of reference towards art and business different from say, another professional artist who prefers not to approach their art as a career, even if they do have a reasonable amount of success at it.
Still mulling this one over.