I’ve always been interested in art. I’ve been drawings as long as I can remember, I collect art books and go to museums any chance I can get, everyone in my family is a working artist, and I go to art school.
Visual approximation of shitty artist
I’ve always been interested in art. I’ve been drawings as long as I can remember, I collect art books and go to museums any chance I can get, everyone in my family is a working artist, and I go to art school. What I’m saying is, art is a huge part of my life and I love it.
I have a normal bro-ho friend, and she’s the sort who’s only good at being pretty and popular. Nobody has ever expected anything else from her. Recently, she started dating a waaay older man with money and she’s suddenly declared herself an artist. She spends all day in his condo painting the worst garbage I’ve ever seen. It’s obvious they are her version of “what an artsy person would do” and they seem to require little to no skill to make — but she’s managed to sell a few of them!
I totally think that she’s just using her older boyfriends connections to have them sold, because nobody in their right mind would buy them unless it was a favor, but she’s constantly being told how talented she is and it’s seriously going to her head. The worst part about it is how arrogant she’s becoming. When I said something about how I wish I understood painting better, she smugly replied that all she had to do was “Google it.”
I have successful friends who are talented artists, so it’s not really a jealousy issue. I’m happy for people who deserve success. I just can’t stand this no-talent hack looking down on me because she’s sold a few paintings and I’m still in college. I get the fact that nobody expected any grand accomplishments from her and she’s proud of herself, but I wish I didn’t have to put up with so much ‘tude from a person who seriously just carelessly smears oil paint around a canvas. How do I tell her she’s not God’s gift to the art world?
-ART SCHOOL FREAKOUT
Dear Art School Freakout,
How do you tell her she’s not God’s gift to the art world? You don’t. You compete. You silently compete and work harder, longer and better until you rip her fucking head off. Revenge is a great motivator. The best motivator. Quit racking up points and worry less about her shitty work, and more about making your work less shitty.
There is always going to be someone who can paint better than you, work faster, get a better break — whatever. There will always be someone who has a bigger apartment, bank account, boyfriend, sister, pet dog, etc. You have to know this is the way the world works. Sometimes, in fact most of the time, douche bags will come out on top. The bad news is, there is nothing we can do about it. The good news is, it has nothing to do with you.
There are two options when your friend becomes a total fuck face. The first option is called “compare and despair.” Bitch about it, whine, feel bad for yourself because you think you deserve what she’s getting. That option is also called “being an entitled jerk.” Who are you to say she doesn’t deserve what she’s getting?
Maybe you need to consider that your struggle is actually a gift. All the ugly things we feel — pain, jealousy, self-pity — these are all indicators that we might be destined to lead richer, deeper lives. Maybe this is your cue to actually create something that is more profound. If googling “art” or having a famous boyfriend works for her, it sounds like her life is kind of lacking. It’s sad. What a bore to have to depend on that kind of temporary fix. But you know what? That’s her deal, her path. Respect it. Maybe even have some compassion that because she’s always had it so easy, she never got to live with a certain kind of depth. She sounds really insecure and jealous of you actually, and is clearly grasping at straws to live a less shallow life.
Which brings me to the second option, which is to take the opposite action. You don’t have to hang out with her as much for one (she’s not “making you” feel this way), but maybe you can encourage her efforts. Trust me, it will throw her for a loop. If you ask her about the art process or try to discuss your struggles with her, you are only setting yourself for disaster. Talk to another, more supportive friend about the walls you’re hitting. So she sells a few paintings? Big deal. If you think sales are what makes a painting good, then clearly you chose the wrong profession. Your whole family is involved in art and you don’t know this? The first rule of being an artist of any kind is that we don’t do it for the money, we do it because we have to. We do it because if we don’t, we will die. That’s how I feel at least.
So this girl isn’t just a painter and we’re not talking about painting anymore. We’re talking about survival. Do you want to bitch about how life’s not fair, or do you want to fight ’til the death?
I know my answer. LET THE BLOODBATH BEGIN!
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