Their are some who would have us believe that a true artist or a real artist is someone who depends solely on their art to earn a living. In other words they are full-time professional artists! Is this true? 

The Dictionary definition of an “art-ist” states” ;


"a person who produces paintings or drawings as a profession or hobby".

Did you notice the last word in that sentence? 

For more than 40 years that is just what I have been doing. Producing art as a “hobby”. I have had a regular job that has paid the bills all these years and when my art sales did not cover my expenses my regular job did! However, the opposite has also been true. At times, my “regular” job has not been able to cover all my expenses and at times like that, I have been VERY grateful for my art sales. 

So I ask the question, “does that make me any less of a professional when it comes to my art?” Some people would have us believe that, that is the case. I recently read in an article and I quote, ”...true artists suffer for the sake of making art? They depend solely on art sales to survive?”

What drivel!! I do not have to cut off my ear (apologies to Vincent) to produce ground breaking, desirable art. I just have to go through miles of canvas to learn my craft. I believe I have paid my dues!!

When I produce a painting or drawing, I don’t have to worry about, “will it sell?” I can enjoy the process and if it sells then I am humbled by the fact that someone is willing to pay good money for my work of art.

So I think it may be time for some to change a long held world view that a “professional artist” is only that person who supports themselves from their art.

Chris Khoury

Professional Artist

2 thoughts on “WHAT IS A “REAL” ARTIST?

  1. Hi Chris, Kim (nee) van Niekerk here. We went to Pretoria College together and I moved on to textiles while you did fine art. Your paintings are beautiful, where my training was never used and I transferred slowly over time to my passion, writing. I just wanted to reach out to you as I remember you introducing me to ‘The late great planet Earth’ and I find myself once again on a journey of (re?) discovery. 🙏 Be safe, be well.

  2. Hi Kim, thanks for the comment. Much appreciated! I think I do remember you from our college days. Wow! That was a lifetime ago. I will look you up on FB.

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