dayjob blues

edit: Well, this is odd. WordPress published this while I was asleep last night. I wrote this years ago and never finished it. I no longer have a day job. The sentiments are the same, though. I had intended to create a long list of famous artists and their shitty day jobs. If anyone has any names to add to the paltry list I’ve already got going below, please leave the info as a comment.


I find it hard to understand when fellow-artists decide that I’m not worth their time because I’ve got a corporate dayjob. This day-to-day torture I put myself through will allow me to buy a studio apartment on which I will not have to pay rent. I have a specific goal and deadline for this at which point I will have something that will allow me to continue doing artwork even in my old age. For those of you who are completely lost on the importance of Equity, please note for your own sakes that it’s going to allow me to not sell out in the future. You all have day jobs that are no better than mine. You may think that working in a design house makes you less of a sell-out than I, but my creativity is not being marred by a client.

Famous artists and their shitty day jobs:

  • Joseph Cornell was a door to door salesman
  • Beksinski was a construction site supervisor
  • De Kooning was painting other peoples murals at least through his 30’s
  • Gauguin was a stock broker
  • T. S. Eliot was a banker
  • Philip Glass was a taxi driver and a plumber
  • Charles Ives was an insurance executive
  • Kurt Vonnegut was a car dealer
  • Rene Magrite worked at a wallpaper factory

edit 4/23/17: ““It was a wonderful time,” said Mr. Glass, 80, who used to leave his son at Ms. [Laurie] Anderson’s sculpture studio in the East Village while he worked a day job, mostly doing construction. “There wasn’t a lot of money, but there was constantly something going on. People didn’t have careers then, they had work. We didn’t know what a career was. We were artists. It didn’t occur to us that you would make a living at it someday.”

edit 5/4/17: All this needs to be verified, but pasting it here anyway for future use…
At age 23, Tina Fey was working at a YMCA.
At age 23, Oprah was fired from her first reporting job.
At age 24, Stephen King was working as a janitor and living in a trailer.
At age 27, Vincent Van Gogh failed as a missionary and decided to go to art school.
At age 28, J.K. Rowling was a suicidal single parent living on welfare.
At age 30, Harrison Ford was a carpenter.
At age 37, Ang Lee was a stay-at-home-dad working odd jobs.
Julia Child released her first cookbook at age 39, and got her own cooking show at age 51.
Vera Wang failed to make the Olympic figure skating team, didn’t get the Editor-in-Chief position at Vogue, and designed her first dress at age 40.
Stan Lee didn’t release his first big comic book until he was 40.
Alan Rickman gave up his graphic design career and landed his first movie role at age 42.
Samuel L. Jackson didn’t get his first major movie role until he was 46.
Morgan Freeman landed his first major movie role at age 52.


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