Facets of Faith: a career in the arts


Hanl Brown

Staff reporter Faith Brocke expresses her emotions and experiences in her column, Facets of Faith.

Faith Brocke, Staff Reporter

For a long time I completely disregarded pursuing a career in the arts. There’s an unease that surrounds the phrase “liberal arts education,” an unease that murmurs financial instability and lack of a real job. 

When I used to think of “an artist,” the picture that always came to mind was someone flicking paint at a canvas in some rundown Brooklyn apartment and going “ah ha!” 

I could attribute this mentality to my family, but I have to admit that there’s actually a lot of deference for artists there, especially on my mom’s side. Though I am not artistically inclined in the painting medium myself, basically everyone else is, and it’s a valuable pastime.

But there comes the second prong on the artist’s career: why can’t you work a respectable job and do whatever it is you do on the weekends, as a pastime? 

Well, that’s a valid consideration. Artistry is not considered to be among the most lucrative careers by any means. This is so much so that household wealth is a significant indicator of whether a person chooses to pursue a creative career. According to the Smithsonian Magazine, “those from households with an annual income of $1 million are 10 times more likely to become artists than those from families with a $100,000 income…[and] overall, Borowiecki posits, every additional $10,000 in total income, or pre-tax earnings of immediate family members, makes a person two percent more likely to enter a creative field.”

If you have a cushiony situation, if you have a reliably secure safety net, you’re much more likely to enter a turbulent and unassured career. 

But putting money considerations aside, there’s a more pervasive fear that wards many away. The fear of “not making it” has financial ramifications, but it also has severe personal ones too. If you feel with conviction that you are an artist, and your art is the best of yourself you have to offer the world, then it not being accepted would be detrimental to your self-image. 

Artists deserve a lot of respect for putting themselves on the line like that, because most I believe feel truly that their art is an extension of themselves. It’s not quite like being an incompetent tax attourney or business man, because the skills necessary for those jobs are easily disentangled from the self. 

Even if you do feel an artist’s work is trivial or some existential nonsense (which it relatively may very well be), you have to commend their spirit. 

As an aspiring screenwriter, sometimes I wonder if my work will be contributing to the world in any meaningful way. It’s not like I’m en route to discover the cure to cancer or will be a lawyer who gets innocent people off death row. Looking at things through a “usefulness” lens requires you to squint a little at such a profession as mine. 

If a career in the arts appeals to you, and if you won’t be putting yourself in the path of destitution to get there, I encourage you to give it a fair consideration. If I had not discovered my niche love of screenwriting I very much doubt that I would be going to the university that I am. It may so happen that there’s something you obviously love that has thus far been completely disregarded.