As I get deeper into the world of web comics, I bump into the money issue every now and then. The issue is nothing but the old “principles vs. money” illusion that seems to have incorrectly come down to us from the French Bohemian movement of the late 1900s. I say incorrectly because French Bohemians were about an artistic, social, and political revolution against the mainstream culture of the time. They usually lacked money and placed their artistic expression above all else. These facts were romanticized and later translated to the general public as the “starving artist” image; the fantasy of a person who loathes money and prefers to live under a bridge sustained by nothing but their passion for art. I find it hard to believe that this unrealistic concept is still alive and well in the 21st century.
Art and entertainment aren’t mutually exclusive. They certainly cross paths more than once, but they also tend to be confused by most people. Art is a form of self expression that challenges society; it mirrors it, and its end result is not necessarily agreeable to the public. Entertainment, on the other hand, is escapism, enjoyment, and satisfactory to the public. Both are necessary, important, sometimes similar, but not the same. There is one indisputable factor they have in common: Money. You can grab your guitar and entertain friends at a party, and you can paint in your free time to express another side of you, but if you choose to make a creative endeavor a career, you need to pay the bills. The greatest artists in history were no exception; they were hired by kings, popes, the nobility, and the wealthiest families of their time.
If I could quit my day job in order to pursue a career doing comics, I would do it in a second. Who wouldn’t love to be making a living out of something they love to do? We spend a big chunk of our lives working, and to me there is nothing worse than to wake up every day to do something I'm forced to do. To be able to make money through self expression is an admirable feat, not something of which to be ashamed. I’ll see you in the page.