Still, if people think that it is obvious I only keep him around because I need the money, it does seem odd that they think I should throw him out. I need his money, but I should say since I only need his money he has to get out? I don't recall these people saying similar things to other people, like since you only stay at that job because you need the money you should quit. Or that people who stay in a certain apartment they don't like because it is the only one that they can afford to live in should move someplace else.
On a completely different note, I've had some people say some particularly odd things about selling my art. I've posted before about the difficulties of selling art, and I posted about the problems of trying to figure out how much to charge for the art and other difficults of trying to sell stuff on eBay here. Basically, there's a huge gulf in between what I want to be paid for my art and what the people want to pay for the art. I want to be paid for the supplies I used to make the art plus a reasonable amount of money for the time I spent making the art. What a person is willing to spend on the art is partially determined by how much other things cost that they would be just as happy buying at the mall. So usually, people do not want to buy scarves that costs $80 or $175 or $330 or even more if they can go to Target and buy a scarf that they like for $15 or $20. True, they might like my scarves more, but not that much more. So I have only sold two scarves, and had an order for a third that was cancelled. If I try to sell ceramics I have a similar problem. Usually what a person wants to pay doesn't even cover the cost of the supplies, and they don't seem to realize that an artist should be paid for their time just as much as a person who does "real work." People expect that if you enjoy making the art that you shouldn't expect to make money from it, though those same people don't expect doctors and pilots who enjoy their work to do donate their time.
Part of the confusion comes from the fact that we do sometimes sell our art for smaller amounts of money that do not take into account the time it took to make whatever it is. Let's say that you know someone who enjoys hand-knitting things, and the person is always knitting either socks or little squares that can later be made into pillows or blankets or scarves or maybe even sweaters. And this person always has some knitting project with her, so that if she ever has to wait for anything that the waiting time is spent knitting instead of just being wasted. So five or ten minutes here and there while waiting for class to start and waiting for the phone to ring when someone is going to call right back and waiting for the pasta to boil while making dinner can all add up to an hour or two a day, and in a week or two you can make a scarf or pillow or maybe even a blanket or a sweater without having to really set aside much for knitting. So when this person is selling a scarf she only wants to be paid for her supplies plus something for her time for the hour or two that she spent putting the squares together, and she doesn't think about all the time that she spent actually knitting the little squares. She enjoys knitting and it keeps her from getting bored sometimes, so she doesn't think to charge much for her scarves, just enough to pay for the yarn and maybe a bit more. She has no problem selling scarves for $20 or so.
But if that same person were to quit her job or give up school or whatever she normally does to become a professional scarf maker, she can't keep selling the scarves for $2o and expect to earn a living that way. The people who have been buying the scarves for $20 probably will not keep buying them if they have to pay more for them, and they can probably find someone else who knits these little squares in between doing other things and charges $20 for a scarf.
So I don't sell much of my art. Most of my art is a labor of love to make something that either I want to keep or I want to give to a close friend or that I specifically made for a charity fundraiser. Yes, I can make you one almost just like it, but it will cost you. It will cost you whatever the materials cost, plus a very reasonable rate of ten dollars an hour for my time. I think that a lot of artists do eventually sell some of their stuff for a lot less than that, just to get rid of some of the stuff. This is especially true of art students who had to make a particular thing for a class, but didn't really like the piece. They just did it for the grade, and once the class is over they have no use for the piece. It is just taking up space, so eventually you either sell it or give it away, and sometimes you even throw some of it out. So, yes, sometimes an artist will sell you a vase for $25, even though it costs that much for just for the glaze and the clay, but you just got lucky. I like almost all of my art and don't feel the need to sell anything just free up some space.
So I get these comments from people. You should sell these. You could make some money. But the people rarely know what they are talking about. If I made something specifically to sell, I would have to make a certain amount of money for it, and probably no one wants to spend that much. Besides the two scarves, the only art I can remember selling was one tile and two decorated eggs (and one of those eggs was purchased only because the purchaser broke the egg and had to buy it).
What really puzzles me is that one of the people saying this stuff is someone who actually was an art major in college. She knows all this stuff. She is an artist, and she doesn't make art for a living. Maybe it was so long ago that she doesn't realize how much supplies cost now, or maybe she's forgotten how much time it all takes.
Another odd thing comment came from my ceramics teacher. I was making a Sleestak head. The teacher doesn't like Sleestak heads. He says that I can't make anymore of them for class credit, and he's not going to fire anymore of them. So I said that I would make more next year in the non-credit class, when we're allowed to make anything that we want. I said that I would like to try to sell some of them to fellow fans. He said that he didn't think that selling Sleestak heads counted towards the "personal enrichment" goals of the non-credit class and he was still unlikely to fire any of them for me.
So I thought that was an odd thing to say. If I can actually sell some of them at a profit, I can buy more supplies and have tuition money to keep taking classes. He would have no problem with me selling vases or something like that after we make them in class, but he has doesn't want me to make duplicates of things that I might actually be able to sell at a profit. I am very unlikely to sell many vases at a profit, since most people can find something that they like just as well for less money somewhere else. I don't know of many other people selling Sleestak heads, so I thought that maybe I was onto something.