“What we forget is that the story of the Starving Artist is a myth. And like all myths, it may be a powerful story, one we can orient our entire lives around. But in the end, it is still just a story.”
How could something like this be a myth? All artists starve. They suffer for their art. Without that suffering and pain, what are they putting into their work…right?
While this may have been the perception of artists for centuries, the idea that real artists need to starve just isn’t true. Not even in the beginning, not even during the Renaissance when art was making huge strides in the world. The truth is that Real Artists Don’t Starve, and Jeff Goins is going to show us why this is not a myth, and how we can be artists with full bellies.
The great Renaissance artist, Michelangelo wrote in a poem that his art had left him “poor, old and working as a servant of others.” And that was the perception that many had of him, and other artists, for decades. That is until a historian found some old bank records that belong to the prominent artist. He wasn’t a poor old man, slaving away for others. Apparently, Michelangelo amassed a fortune of $47 million today.
Real Artists Don’t Starve, and it isn’t just Michelangelo that discovered this. Jeff Goins walks the reader through a parade of artists, writers, film makers, and other that have committed their lives to their art and didn’t suffer because of it. Instead, they lived a life that we all wish to live and can live.
With a simple shift in our thinking, rewiring our understanding of the artist’s mindset, becoming knowledgeable about the market for our art, and how to use money properly, we can become artists that don’t starve. We can become artists that thrive in what Jeff Goins calls a “New Creative Age”.
“Against the ruin of the world, there is only one defence – the creative act.” – Kenneth Rexroth
If this book is not required reading for Art majors at universities, higher education is failing millions of students. Real Artists Don’t Starve is a life changing book, with the information to completely alter a person life trajectory.
Whether you are a painter, film maker, writer, or any other kind of artist, Jeff Goins helps to shift your thinking from the myth of the starving artist to one that can live comfortably as an artist. As someone that would love to make a living from writing, this was exactly the kind of eye opener that I needed. It is possible. It is workable if I am willing to work at it.
The number of assumptions and preconceived notions that people, myself included, have about artists and their work comes crumbling down when Goins compares the myths to the historical evidence. The stories that he shares about Michelangelo, one of the greatest artist ever, illustrate how the vocation of the artist is not meant to be a life of poverty. And not just in the days of the Renaissance, but now in the 21st century, for the principles that Michelangelo lived out are still applicable now.
I don’t know if I could recommend this book enough to anyone that is an artist or has some interest in art, whether it is architecture or design, audio or visual, written or sung. Real Artists Don’t Starve can open your eyes to see a new world where you can create more than you ever thought possible, and be greatly appreciated for it.
While I normally talk about something that really spoke to me here or something that bothered me, I can’t say all the good things I want to in this space. And you don’t need me to retell you everything that Jeff Goins says. Just read the book and be blown away by the realizations that life for artists doesn’t need to be so tough. With a little life tweaking, everything can get better.
While Goins’ book isn’t obviously Christian, he isn’t invoking Jesus’ name or quoting Scripture for any reason, it is completely relevant to a spiritual generation that has lost all connection to its artistic heritage. Christians and non-Christians can greatly benefit from reading Real Artists Don’t Starve.
“What if you could make a living as an artist? What would that change about the way we approach our work and how we consider creativity’s importance in our world today? What would that mean for the careers we choose and the paths we encourage our kids to follow?”
While Real Artists Don’t Starve may not be an obviously Christian book, this is a book that Christians need to be reading. With so many in the church with artistic gifts, they need to be aware that they do not need to go hungry or take a vow of poverty to do what God has called them to. You can honour God and get paid too.
Jeff Goins has opened up a new window of possibility for so many artists by helping them see that they don’t need to starve. I give Real Artists Don’t Starve 5 out of 5 stars.