Friday, July 22, 2011

Professional vs. Hobbyist

The professional artisan versus the hobbyist artisan is a hot topic of debate in the Artisan community. The debate usually starts as a pricing topic, it is believed that hobbyists under price their work, which in turn undermines the professional. At this point the debate is off and running. However, I know many artisans whose art is their sole income that undervalue their work. So how does one define oneself as a professional vs. a hobbyist artisan?

Here at Entwined Vines Jewelry we consider ourselves professional's. At what point did we stop thinking of ourselves as hobbyists and considered ourselves to be professionals? That is a very simple question to answer it was the first time we got paid for our work.

A hobbyist by definition is someone who pursues an activity for pleasure.

Professionals while there are several different definitions. The one that is most prevalent to this discussion is: When one participates in an activity, which is usually pursued by amateurs, for financial gain or a complete livelihood.

The conclusion I have come to and why this does become such a heated argument is the level of professionalism with which different artisans pursue their artistic endeavors. It is simply a matter of what the artisan wish’s to accomplish on the path of their artistic venture and what they are willing to sacrifice to achieve it. Not only that but the level of expectation and value they place on themselves and their artistic creations.

You have those that want to pursue it as a part time venture for a little extra cash, and then you have those that choose to follow an artistic lifestyle. Following an artistic lifestyle means these artisans are attempting to live solely on what they make thru selling their artistic creations.

Is one better than the other? No absolutely not! In fact it is my belief that you have to be a little bit of both in order to be a successful artist. Especially when first starting out. Besides if one does not enjoy their art, then why would one pursue it as a livelihood?

While there will never be a clear cut division or solution to this particular discussion topic there is one important thing to remember, each business
owner(s) have to make their own decisions about what level of professionalism they choose to take their business too.

The important thing for buyers to remember is true artists, whatever level they are working their business too, they all put a piece of their soul into each of their creations.


HRT said...

I think you summed it up very well!

Catherine said...

Very well thought out and well written! Am so glad you decided to post it! Thank you for sharing. (Saw your post in the AF forums).

Entwined Vines Jewelry said...

It was a close thing, I almost didn't post it. Glad it is being well received.

Nicole Laskin said...

thank's for posting, i wholeheartedly agree with you, i myself am a little of both but hopefully will be living of my Art soon

Strange whimsy said...

This was a great post, as a hobby artist turning professional artist I now know what to call myself :)Thank you for the wonderful read.