Dear Auntie Em,
Last week I went to an art exhibition sponsored by my [large City] law firm, and I have felt all at sea ever since.
The things is, I used to be really into art, attending art college for a year before deciding to “get serious” and study law. As I wandered through that art exhibition the other day, marvelling at the wonderful work, I kept thinking how that year was the happiest of my life.
Being a lawyer is OK – don’t misunderstand me, I’m not one of these whiny law-hater
types. But you only live once, right? And I feel my true destiny is to make art, not go along to occasional corporate-sponsored exhibitions and network with other lawyers. What should I do?
Disclaimer: Auntie Em has never worked in a law firm. But she is an aunt and has a psychology degree. As a teenager, Auntie Em had a dream predicting 9/11.
What you should bear in mind is that most artists aren’t as good as they think they are. Even you.
If you’d finished art school, you’d inevitably have had a few years of living in a communal squat in Hackney, wearing T-shirts with holes in and arguing over who’s buying the next pack of loo roll. Then you’d attempt a compromise between artistic integrity and commercialism and end up making adverts for baby food, or designing chocolate wrappers.
You might feel right now that in the lottery of life you have drawn the wrong balls, but the race is long. And while a few artists (thanks to a modicum of talent mixed with a lot of luck, networking ability and bravado) enjoy successful careers, remember that you’re pulling in a steady income. Why not put your dreams on hold, and wait for a retirement of selling handmade pottery to your rich colleagues?
Having read all this, if you still feel the muse calling, then answer her. Don’t write to me about it. It’s very easy: simply jack in your job, smear some turd on a canvas and become the next Jackson Pollock. I dare you.
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