Social Question

CugelTheClueless's avatar

How do you handle dating an artist who isn't very talented?

Asked by CugelTheClueless (562 points ) December 28th, 2012

Have you ever been romantically involved with some kind of artist (painter, sculptor, musician, actor, writer, filmaker, etc.) who had many of the qualities you were looking for in a significant other, maybe even a spouse, but who wasn’t very good at their art? Not just unsuccessful, but, in your opinion, untalented? What’s the best way to deal with this?

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8 Answers

Shippy's avatar

It depends, are they expecting to earn an income from it, or do it for fun?

If it is for fun, just say it’s great. Art is really just a perspective on life, seen from the painters mind. It is not always ours to judge.

If it is for financial gain, perhaps ask how much they have earned from it already?

cookieman's avatar

Speaking as a commercial artist whose been lucky enough to stay employed for twenty-five years, @Shippy hit the nail on the head.

If it’s a hobby, just smile and nod and be supportive. However, if he plans to support himself this way, you need to assertain how realistic that is.

Does he have any clients now? Does he work contract and freelance or is he seeking FT work? Does he have or need a manager or agent? How does he promote himself? Networking? Web site? Word of mouth? How aggressive is he? And, as @Shippy said, has he made any steady money from his art thus far, and how much?

hearkat's avatar

Art is subjective, and so I don’t pretend to be a critic – there are plenty of works out there that are highly regarded and commercially successful that just don’t speak to me. If the person I care for gains an emotional benefit from having a creative outlet, then more power to them. If they want to try to sell it, I would encourage them, but remind them that the market for “art” is fickle, and there are many talented people trying to get discovered, so they should have other ways to support themselves until their art has paid off.

However, (as an example) if someone I knew thought they had a great voice and wanted to go on American Idol but in fact couldn’t carry a tune, I would have to say something to them. I would probably suggest that they record themselves and listen to it, so they could hear their voice the way other people hear it, and maybe suggest a vocal coach or someone more professional and experienced who might be able to offer constructive criticism more effectively.

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

As the significant other in the situation, I would choose to be supportive. If my mate decided to abandon all other means of support to pursue art, I would ask to see a business plan aiming at instilling a sense that what they are doing may have consequences beyond their own pleasure.

burntbonez's avatar

Depends why you want to have a relationship with them. If you want a breadwinner and you don’t see them ever winning any bread, then it wouldn’t be a good move. But if you love them for who they are, it doesn’t matter. If you ask me, if you do not love them for who they are, then the relationship has no future.

SadieMartinPaul's avatar

It’s painful when someone has an artistic soul yet no artistic talent.

Self_Consuming_Cannibal's avatar

Just don’t offer your opinion on their art and if they ask it let them down gently and inform them that while they may have talent, it’s not a talent that you happen to enjoy. Unless you just plan on lying about how much you love their art for the duration of your relationship.

Keep in mind that just because you don’t see them as having talent others may find them very talented. I’ve seen many artists whom I think suck but they make quite a living at selling their stuff.

“One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.”

CugelTheClueless's avatar

^That’s pretty much what I was thinking—and leaning towards lying for the duration, if I couldn’t evade the issue somehow.

I went out with a few times with a woman who bills herself as a muralist. She also does some smaller paintings and dabbles in poetry and singing/songwriting. She has managed to sell a few paintings and has gotten two commissions to do murals over the past three years, but she mainly supports herself by working as a waitress (she attractive and outgoing, and she works at a higher-end restaurant, so she makes good tips). She hasn’t made any money off her poetry or music. She could probably make a little money as a street musician if she learned some covers and got beyond the intermediate level with her guitar, but that doesn’t seem to be her thing.

I ended up in the “friend zone” with this woman, so I suppose it doesn’t matter now, but I really did wonder what I was going to say if she ever asked me directly what I thought of her her work. Her murals are mediocre. Her poetry is mostly awful. IMHO, of course.

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