Michael.N. wrote: Dan Davis wrote:
printer2 wrote:I think the making your living off your trade should be a requirement to call yourself something.
By that definition, van Gogh was not a painter.
No he was a painter, just very much an amateur painter. He became professional after he died. Fat lot of good that did him.
Well.... Painting most certainly was van Gogh's profession. He was just never able to live off it without subsidies from his brother (most of which he spent on pigments and canvas, often at the expense of food). He only sold one painting, for 400 francs, during his lifetime. His is hardly an unusual profile. Surviving via one or more patrons when sales of one's work do not pay the bills does not make one an amateur. If this were the case, many of history's great artists would have to be labeled amateurs.
I may be misunderstanding the intent here, but it strikes me as a little "edgy" to link the boundary between amateur and professional to degree of success. Is the person who fully intends to sell his/her work but struggles to make a living off it any less a professional?
But perhaps amateur/professional is a false dichotomy in the first place -- or at least an irrelevant one -- especially in a field where "making a living" is an increasingly tenuous proposition. If we would make instruments whether we could live off their sale or not (as I suspect would be the case for most makers here), then we are something not adequately captured by either term, and it is probably that nameless something that comes closest to being the qualification that matters.
All of us contain Music & Truth, but most of us can't get it out. -- Mark Twain