Artists Relationships

Every artist should think as a part of a larger art community. The art market, like any market game, is about individualism and competition and only the artists could change that situation. And for this purpose, they need to gather. Here the list of chapters of artists relationships and why it matters:

  1. Finding an artist friend
  2. Dating an artist
  3. Marrying an artist
  4. Are artists attractive?
  5. Biases about artists
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by Mo Li – Last updated: April 19, 2019 at 23:30 pm
Header’s photo: Mario Paniego and Amaia Vicente

How to find artist friends

Some artists are complaining about not being able to meet other artists at a similar skill level. The main reason was the artists who wanted to befriend didn’t paint well enough… Like if you are a human resource manager or art school admission officer? Aren’t friends supposed to inspire each other? Instead of a competition.

3 ways to meet artists friends

#1: Alumni Network

However, I do understand the desire of being close to other like-minded artists, and if you wish, with similar skill levels. The easiest way is to filter by education. Because your admission office would make sure that the students pass a minimum level of skills. Some of my closest friends are from the school I attended. Going through the same experience would bring people together. You can get in touch with your alumni office, and see who is living in your region.

-Tanja Hollander spent the last five years traveling the globe to meet and take pictures of each of her Facebook friends. She embarked on her quest as a social experiment to find out what friendship means in the social-media age and to document her travels.

#2: Professional Network

The second would be getting a job at Disney or some kind of creative studio, so you will be surrounded by qualified artists and designers. The HR manager will handpick the good ones for you. If you don’t want to work for a company, you can simply locate nearby studios and get in touch with the employees via Linkedin.

#3: Artist Residency

If you are living in a town with very little art and culture, the best idea would be to travel a bit. You can apply to attend an artist residency, where you will meet and network with many visiting artists from all over the world. You will be sharing the space to live and work together, likely becoming friends fast.

Business friends?

However, having friends at the same skill level might not really help. Because you have very similar skills, at a similar level, you won’t be able to learn a lot from them. Also, having similar skills in the same industry, there could be a conflict of interest. I would rather advise you to make some business friends who can provide different skills that can really help your art career. You don’t need to talk about art techniques to have a meaningful conversation with others!

 

Dating an artist?

What is it like to date an artist?

“What is it like to be married to an artist?” I assume if you are asking this question, you are not an artist. Otherwise, it would be: “Should an artist date another artist?”

I am not an artist and I have dated artists. My parents are both artists so I have closely witnessed and studied this case. I definitely have a lot to say!

Some problems, then some benefits:

Financial Pressure

The ‘starving artist’ is a widespread stereotype of an artist. If you are dating an artist, I assume you two are both in the first half of your lives, not towards the end. That means you two will be both struggling a bit financially. Having an artist as a partner adds a lot more financial pressure. The older an artist gets, the stronger his or her market gets. You will have to wait for your partner to succeed, in a decade or two.

Artist and lifestyle

There is another side of financial pressure. People who can afford going to art schools usually come from fairly wealthy backgrounds. It means they have probably lived a lot more comfortable than right now, after graduating. Perhaps your partner still keeps the same lifestyle but cannot afford. This is definitely a bigger problem than simply having a tough time.

“Art, at its best, aims to be a transcendent experience. As does sex. And maybe this is naive to say, given that art is now largely a business, but I’ve always found it attractive to think that artists might be more in touch with generating transcendence than the average person, and therefore must be better in bed. (I might have to sleep with more artists in order to prove that theory.)

There’s just something sexy and fascinating about someone whose daily routine deals with the sublime, and who aims to create something out of this world. It’s like wanting to fuck God, kinda. Also, objectively, artists are good with their hands, so …”
-Karley Sciortino (Vulture)

Social Pressure

When a child tells his parents ‘I want to become an artist’, what is the typical reaction? ‘Go and get a real job!’ This reaction could also happen when your parents learn that you are dating an artist. ‘Why can’t you find a lawyer or a doctor?’

Artists are not social

Besides the fact you might not have support from family and friends, you will have another kind of social problem: artists are usually not very sociable. Not because they are born this way. Because art school students were not trained to work in teams like business school students. Most of the cases, when an artwork is produced, there is a sign of one artist instead of a team. Due to the nature of their work, they don’t get enough practice working with others. You may find it slightly inconvenient when you have to bring your partner to a social occasion.

Great Conversations

Because your partner knows art history and aesthetics, he or she can be a great conversation partner. One of my favorite things is to tell people ‘Can you tell me something I don’t know?’ And most of the times, highly paid jobs such as lawyers and doctors can’t tell you something that is pleasant to hear on a date.

Beautiful lifestyle has a price

All in all, dating an artist feels like if you have achieved financial freedom but you are bankrupt at the same time. It’s a beautiful lifestyle, but there is a bill in the end. If you can afford it on your own, that’s great. If not? I have a solution: you can work with your partner on his or her project, so you two can both live from making art. It’s a lot of commitment, but it offers a chance to live a life together.

Who should an artist marry?

Marrying someone is the single biggest decision you will be liable for, so make your decision carefully. I can’t tell you what to do because it is your life. But imagine if you are my friend, you are an artist and you ask me to give you dating advice. What kind of people I think would be a good fit for you?

Complement Your Skills

Marry people with opposite skills than you have, for example, lawyers, accountants and business people. Their skills will complement your artistic skills and optimise your career and life.

For example, an IPR lawyer can give you advice when you sign a contract with galleries, or protect your copyrights. An accountant can help you declare tax and manage your financials. A business professional can become your agents and bring your brand to another level.

“… but honestly, getting married to someone who works office hours with no space for creativity, having two kids, a dog and getting fat is all starting to sound pretty good.”
– Tristan Boisvert & Chris Phillips

Complement Your Income

If you don’t want to work with your spouse, then there are other options: you can be with someone who has low but consistent income, such as school teachers or civil servants. They are unlikely to become millionaires but they don’t starve either. Their stable income can be your safety net meanwhile you are trying to make it as an artist.

Create the opportunity

To recap, you should consider someone who complements your skills and helps you with your career. Alternatively, someone who has a stable income to compliment your unstable income. You may say, I don’t meet people from another industry in my day to day life. I work alone in my studio. Actually, there are opportunities everywhere, when you are eating out or having a coffee. Walk into a restaurant, how many artists will there be? Most probably, only you!

Now I wish you the best of luck in finding your partner for life!

Are artists attractive?

Are artists hot? I think yes because I have almost exclusively dated artists and I think they are. However, why some people think visual artists are more attractive than other professionals? That’s a very difficult question to answer. Here are some of my theories, inspired by the mating strategies in the animal kingdom.

Bird Courtship

Many wild birds decorate their nests to attract mates, especially male birds. They collect beautiful stones, flower petals, and even steal things from households to display exceptional architectural skills. This is a part of the bird courtship behaviour. I think in any sense, the ability of visual artists to decorate their homes and bring something exceptionally beautiful to live, is a quality we human also appreciate.

“because there is an electronic economy of looking good, nowadays, people’s online presence almost turns all work into sex-work, and even artists have been taking advantage of this, commoditizing their self-image (selfies) in support of their art practices –for good and bad because this obviously generates many “blurred lines”.”
-Amalia Ulman

Omega Male

We all know the ‘alpha male’, which is the macho leader of the group. There is a new term called the omega male. It refers to a man who doesn’t have the desire to be the most outstanding performer or to take the lead in a particular situation. This term is made to describe human, but it also exists in other primates species like in monkeys. Some female monkeys prefer omega male instead of an alpha male for the less aggressive and more caring personality.

Pointless dedication

Although omega male has a negative overtone because we are encouraging competitiveness. However, Omega males have their own attractive qualities. They are very dedicated to certain hobbies, passions or non-lucrative stuff, like a painting. They put a lot of energy into seemingly ‘pointless’ projects. The pure dedication itself is very attractive. If a man can dedicate hours in front of a painting without being paid, he could also do so in front of his child, no?

Copying Mate Choice

We have talked about birds and monkeys, now let’s go to the sea. Copying mate choice is an interesting phenomenon among rainbow fish. If younger female rainbow fish observe older females choose mating partners, they tend to copy such mate choice. I think this also exist in human – we learn from our parents about dating, so in a way, we are copying others.

Misleading exposure

Artists have a lot of media exposure. People tend to talk about the marriage of artists rather than lawyers and doctors. So we get to see this and go: ‘Oh, dating an artist is cool!’ Of course, it can be misleading! We only get to see successful artists, like famous football players and elected politicians. We have this ‘survivor’s bias’ about dating too.

That’s my theory on why people find artists attractive. What do you think? Leave me a comment below!

The clickbait lists on artists relationships

I was doing research on artists and their relationships, and I found some really ‘bold’ comments on why you should date an artist. I think most of them are just clickbait. Here they are with my reactions below:

 

  1. “You will become his muse. There is almost nothing as sexy as a man expressing his feelings for you in a swirl of blues, reds, and yellows.”
    How about expressing your love with ‘greens’? It could be super sexy. More seriously, if they are professional painters you will have also to deal with the stain.
  2. “They are extremely talented.”
    That’s a bold generalization. Outstanding talent and skills are scarce in any society, at any times. We are dating! We are not talent agencies. This chance of meeting and falling in love with a super talented artist is like winning a jackpot.
  3. “They can set their own hours and have the freedom to call the shots on their own clocks.”
    I agree and I disagree. Most of the artists work long hours alone in the studios and find it hard to manage their time, especially working with certain kinds of materials. They have constraints.
  4. “Artists tend to have and to produce the best body art.”
    I disagree. The clients of a good tattoo artist can have the best body art, too.
  5. “Artists tend to come up with creative solutions to solve some everyday situations.”
    Artists can be handy. But in my experience, most of the times engineers and masons are better brick and mortar hackers.
  6. “They have ‘random knowledge‘.”
    This attention to detail paired with a natural curiosity makes artists seem like knowledge sponges. Actually this one I agree a little more. I think they have the tendency to get cultural knowledge than random knowledge. I would consider random knowledge are like ‘did you know cats with 3 colors are female’, and ‘giraffes can’t speak but makes low frequency humming that human could not hear’?
  7. “They are open-minded free thinkers.”
    When it comes to money, suddenly everything is such a taboo. Most of the artists are not so open to discussing money, especially these graduate from art school.
  8. “They are dreamers.”
    Right, artists are dreamers because they have to project and create a future against all odds. But Elon Musk is also a dreamer. Being a dreamer is not a special quality only artists poses.
  9. “You will meet other like-minded artists through your date.”
    Unless you are on the hunt for more artists for professional reasons, I really don’t see why it matters.
  10. “Artists are resourceful, love recycling and good at survival.”
    I don’t know about that. To be honest, I think mountain climbers, explorers, and hunters are better at survival.
  11. “You begin to notice beauty in life.”
    I also began to notice other beautiful girls in my life when I started to date an artist, actually. It was not something I wished to notice.
“If you are in a relationship, your energy is divided. If you have children, it’s even more divided. When I’m alone, there’s nothing else, so then I put in not just 100% but 20% more than 100%, and that 20% really makes it.”
-Marina Abramovic
  1. “They will draw you.”
    Because they are students and they can not afford models.
  2. “They will appreciate your beauty.”
    Anyone who loves you will appreciate your beauty. It’s human instinct, you don’t need art school to appreciate women.
  3. “They have the best idea for drinks.”
    Well, except no money for drinks?
  4. “They are passionate and creative.”
    Yes, but they are passionate about art and creativity in paintings. Not necessarily with you.
  5. “They know how to take best pictures.”
    This is true if you are dating a photography major in the art school.
  6. “They are just as misunderstood as you.”
    Sorry, I was asked if my women’s part open sideways. I don’t think art students are as misunderstood as a female from a racial minority. But this is a date, not a pity party. Let’s move on.
  7. “They aren’t as dull as your Exs.”
    Sorry, my Exs are artists too. What do you know about my Exs!
  8. “They can paint you a picture.”
    I can spend $5 on Fiverr and get a picture painted the way I like.
  9. “They make most out of any situation.”
    I think they can deal with some unexpected situations. But in the wild, hunters can make more out of any situation.
  10. “They are full of stories.”
    I think novelists are more full of stories.
  11. “They crave new experiences.”
    Who doesn’t? But art techniques takes practice, is a craft, so they also spend a lot of time on repetition.
  12. “They surround themselves with creativity.”
    This one I agree the most so far.
  13. “They are great gift-givers.”
    They can be great but usually, they tend to be super cheap gift givers.
  14. “They don’t back down from a challenge.”
    Might be true, but they could complain the whole way.
  15. “They are not afraid to give in their emotions.”
    Ok, but they can also be afraid to give in their ego.
  16. “They interpret things differently.”
    In fact, like any group, they tend to fit in a style and tend to interpret things as artists should do.
  17. “They will encourage your individuality.”
    The problem is, I think in our society today, there is too much individuality. We should go back to the community and collective interest to solve bigger problems.
  18. “They will open their heart to you.”
    Come on, I hope if I am dating anyone, he will open his heart to me, not only artists.

The basic ideas of an artist

Basically, all in all, these 3 articles are trying to say: artists are creative, resourceful, emotional, open-minded and fun-loving. I think some points are valid, but this applies to almost any decent boyfriend or girlfriend. It’s not very special in terms of the artist as a profession.

Generalization as a trend

I am a bit agitated by the ‘generalization’ and the articles have just one goal – to draw traffic. So they can profit from ad revenues. I think a lot of things they say on the Internet is nonsense, but nevertheless, it’s entertaining. One of our goals is also to get traffic, but it isn’t the first aim and we try our best to be who we are and transmit the values we want. And we advise any artist to do the same: we don’t choose the world we live in and an artist has to deal with business and marketing as any other solo entrepreneur but it shouldn’t be the primary constraint.

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