For centuries, believed the great Renaissance master was just another Starving Artist, struggling to make ends meet. Michelangelo himself embraced this image, living frugally and often complaining about money. He once wrote in a poem that his art had left him “poor, old and working as a servant of others.” But it turns out he wasn’t telling the truth.
Making a living off your creative talent has never been easier, and to show you it’s possible I will share historical examples of well-known artists, creatives, and entrepreneurs who did not have to suffer to create their best work. And I will also introduce you to a contemporary group of professionals who are experiencing surprising amounts of success in their creative work and how you can join them.
Finally, I will try to convince you that the idea of the Starving Artist is a useless myth that holds you back more than it helps you produce your best work.
Today, with more opportunity than ever to share our work with the world, we need a different model for creative work. The Myth of the Starving Artist has long since overstayed its welcome, and what we need now is a New Renaissance, a return to a model for art and business that doesn’t require creative workers to suffer and starve.
We all have creative gifts to share, and in that respect, we are all artists. The world needs your work—whether that’s an idea for a book, a vision for a startup, or a dream for your neighborhood— and you shouldn’t have to struggle to create it.